Conceptual framework to evaluate health care professionals’ satisfaction in utilizing telemedicine

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© 2019 American Osteopathic Association. Context: Several advantages of telemedicine have been reported, such as improved patient satisfaction, reduced costs, and broader access to specialists. However, most studies have focused on patient satisfaction with telemedicine services. A literature gap exists in evaluating health care professionals’ (both referring and performing professionals) satisfaction in delivering telemedicine services. A clear picture of pro-fessionals’ telemedicine satisfaction has the potential to improve care quality, care accessibility, and telemedicine adoption and to reduce overall health care costs. Objectives: To develop a framework to evaluate health care professionals’ satisfaction in delivering telemedicine services and to articulate the factors that can contribute to their satisfaction. Methods: We developed an initial conceptual framework based on existing literature and the research team’s expertise. The initial framework was validated by a convenience group of 12 osteopathic and allopathic physicians, and the framework was further revised and refined according to their input. Results: The refined framework includes 5 main components (professionals’ demographics, care settings, motivations, experiences, and overall satisfaction) that can contribute to health care professionals’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction in delivering telemedicine services. Detailed itemization is provided under each component, including hierarchical organizations of the items, definitions, and potential value sets. Conclusions: The refined conceptual framework may provide a comprehensive evaluation reference for measuring professionals’ satisfaction in delivering telemedicine. Further customization according to the specific setting of telemedicine services is needed. This refined conceptual framework can also be used to identify areas that can be improved and to ultimately improve telemedicine services and care quality.