Evaluation of Synchronous and Asynchronous Telemedical Applications in Primary Care in Rural Regions of Northern Germany-Results and Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study

Alexander Waschkau, Pia Traulsen, Jost Steinhäuser

Abstract

(1) Background: Telemedical applications (TAs) that are centered around General practitioners' (GP) practices could be beneficial for patients in rural areas in order to better their access to care. This could become more and more relevant as specialists favor practicing in more urban regions, leaving GPs as the first medical contact of patients in rural areas. (2) Methods: Three TAs, one synchronous, one asynchronous and one used in delegation were implemented and evaluated in ten GP practices and two specialists' practices in rural areas of northern Germany. (3) Results: Overall satisfaction with the TAs was generally high. GPs as well as specialists were especially satisfied with asynchronous TAs. A number of valuable "Lesson learned" were obtained and can be used as recommendations for further studies, e.g., taking time to identify market-ready technologies prior to implementation, developing dedicated trainings for users, and preparation of a technical support plan. Overall, the benefits of the TAs were rated high for the patients by the medical professionals. (4) Conclusion: Especially asynchronous TAs that are based on existing technology can be successfully implemented into a developing digital health care system such as the one in Germany. The impact on treatment of those TAs needs to be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number22
ISSN1661-7827
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11.11.2022

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