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Doctors’ Shift From Traditional to Telehealth Practice Essay

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Updated: Jun 16th, 2022

Thesis

Although the adoption of telehealth is relatively low, the integration of cognitive learning theory and physicians’ insights into the design and development of healthcare informatics can stimulate the transition from traditional to computer-based practice.

Introduction

Despite the transformative potential of technological advances in healthcare service delivery, the adoption and usage of telehealth and other computer-aided innovations by physicians remain significantly low. Telehealth, a subsystem of healthcare informatics, combines medical, computer, and information sciences to enhance the management, delivery, and quality of health services offered by improving staff effectiveness and efficiency, and reducing associated costs. However, these benefits have not been realized due to low healthcare workers’ acceptance and uptake. Although the adoption of telehealth is relatively low, the integration of cognitive learning theory and physicians’ insights into the design and development of healthcare informatics can stimulate the transition from traditional to computer-based practice.

Background

Telehealth is the application of telecommunications and electronic information technologies, such as mobile devices and computers, to support the delivery of remote clinical care and other health-related services, such as teleconsultation, telemonitoring, and telediagnosis. Kissi et al. (2019) argue that converging information science, medicine, and technology was intended to augment personnel shortages in healthcare, increase service accessibility, and minimize costs. However, the realization of these benefits has been subverted by the physicians’ dismal uptake and the reluctant transition from traditional to telehealth practice due to negative perceptions in the ease of use and functionality.

Transitioning from the conventional to telehealth practice is dependent on the perceptions of healthcare professionals regarding the satisfaction levels, practicality, and efficacy derived from the technology. According to Kissi et al. (2019), some concerns can be addressed effectively by involving physicians in the design, development, and training as an approach to stimulate the reflection of how technology enhances their practice. For instance, despite the acquisition of technologically advanced communication equipment by doctors, their application and utilization are limited. This indicates that although physicians acknowledge the importance of technology in their practice, they lack enough motivation to deploy them in practice. An assessment by Albarrak et al. (2019) revealed that despite the physicians’ preference of telehealth to physical attendances, the willingness to use is limited. This can be attributed to the presence of some challenges or the inadequacy of the systems, which discourage their adoption and usage. Therefore, the integration of cognitive learning concepts in telehealth’s various stages could capitalize on the healthcare workers’ eagerness demonstrated by the acquired equipment and arouse the desire to the full transition to telehealth practice.

Benefits of Cognitive Learning Theory in Supporting Transition to Telehealth

Cognitive learning theory emphasizes the acquisition of transformative knowledge through active involvement by building on past consciousness and comprehension. As a result, the model provides many benefits, including the development of problem-solving skills and enhanced confidence levels. Waseh and Dicker (2015) posit that the incorporation of telemedicine-based lessons in regular medical curricula offers invaluable competencies, critical in tackling emerging challenges and applying the acquired knowledge confidently. Introducing telehealth concepts in the existing education and training programs increases the learners’ familiarity through constant exposure, and fosters their eagerness of applying the obtained knowledge (Edirippulige & Armfield, 2016). This implies that appropriate skills development and coaching are critical in transforming the perceptions and thoughts of practitioners before they enter into the technology-driven industry.

Effectively leveraging the rapidly evolving technology requires a robust connection with the already acquired knowledge as the foundation of developing familiarity and boosting confidence levels when applying telemedicine (Waseh & Dicker, 2015). Physicians’ acceptance of technology can be fostered by increasing their familiarity, which enhances the technology’s ease of use and functionality. Therefore, adopting cognitive learning approaches ultimately supports the physicians’ transitioning from the traditional operational model to telehealth practice.

Additionally, the healthcare workers obtain useful problem-solving skills which they can apply to navigate challenging tasks or scenarios. As an emerging, dynamic, and continually evolving technology, telehealth has various inherent challenges and shortcomings, such as patient resistance. However, skills acquired through the cognitive learning theory equip the physicians with skills, expertise, and ability to resolve difficulties as they occur. As a result, the practitioners’ willingness to transition to telehealth is stimulated by their ability to overcome obstacles, thereby supporting the transition to telehealth practice.

Conclusion

Despite the extensive investments, advancements, and policy changes to support telehealth, its uptake and adoption are limited. However, the various challenges impeding the physicians’ transitioning from the traditional operational model to telehealth practice can be mitigated by utilizing the cognitive learning theory across the latter’s phases of design, development, and training. The participation and involvement of the healthcare workers in these stages equip them with the essential knowledge and expertise to support application and the resolution of emerging challenges. The active role-playing stimulates buy-in, resolves any negative perceptions, and reinforces the intrinsic benefits of technologically-driven practice. Additionally, cognitive learning theory accentuates the need to redesign the current training programs as an approach to address the emotional aspect of trainees, and the subsequent transitioning to telehealth practice. Therefore, this model is effective in supporting the doctors’ shift to telehealth.

References

Albarrak, A. I., Mohammed, R., Almarshoud, N., Almujalli, L., Aljaeed, R., Altuwaijiri, S., & Albohairy, T. (2019). . Journal of Infection and Public Health, (2019), 1–8.

Edirippulige, S., & Armfield, N. (2016). . Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 23(2), 273–282.

Kissi, J., Dai, B., Dogbe, C. S. K., Banahene, J., & Ernest, O. (2019). . Health Informatics Journal, 26(3), 1866–1880.

Waseh, S., & Dicker, A. (2019). . JMIR Medical Education, 5(1), e12515.

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IvyPanda. "Doctors’ Shift From Traditional to Telehealth Practice." June 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/doctors-shift-from-traditional-to-telehealth-practice/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Doctors’ Shift From Traditional to Telehealth Practice." June 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/doctors-shift-from-traditional-to-telehealth-practice/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'Doctors’ Shift From Traditional to Telehealth Practice'. 16 June.

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