Rheumatology telehealth acceptance

January 2017December 2018

Many specialist medical services are not available to people living in Queensland without extensive travel, and this includes rheumatology services which deal with joints, soft tissue, and autoimmune disease issues.

This research project is focused on understanding the views of patients in regards to telerheumatology and working towards improvements in the delivery of rheumatology services by video conference, mainly for the management of inflammatory arthritis. This study goes beyond the usual “patient satisfaction” investigation to uncover patient perspectives on appropriateness of the patient-provider relationship, cultural acceptability, views on personalised care, multidisciplinary team care tolerability, models of care, and suitability of education delivery within telehealth encounters.

Patients seen in telerheumatology clinics are completing surveys and a smaller number are taking part in focus groups to gather more qualitative data on acceptability of telehealth use in rheumatology. Using this information, a patient-centered framework will be developed for telerheumatology, with the end goal of increasing specialist rheumatology access and improving patient outcomes.

This project is being led by Dr Helen Benham (Metro South Health) with funding support from Arthritis Queensland.