Staff perceptions of a telemedicine intensive care unit programme in Saudi Arabia
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This research presents a case study for the evaluation of a telemedicine intensive care unit (tele-ICU) project implemented by King Faisal Specialist Hospital (KFSH) in Saudi Arabia. The aims of the research were to identify the tele-ICU users’ perspectives about the motives and barriers they face and to present their suggestions about the system. The total number of consulted cases from January 2008 until the end of the study on August 2013 was 1089 cases. The connected centres were classified into high-usage and low-usage centres. Of the 26 hospitals participating in the project, staff from 13 centres responded and agreed to participate in the study. Twenty users were interviewed regarding their experience using the tele-ICU facilities. All interviews were transcribed then analysed by using qualitative data management software (QSR NVivo 10 ©) to identify common themes which repeated. The data were then categorised into motives, barriers and suggestions. The top identified motives of tele-ICU users were Providing Clinical Support, Providingm Quality Care, and the opportunity of Continuing Medical Education. The chief barriers fell under the categories of Lack of Exposure and Administration Issues. Finally, the most frequent suggestions were the ability to connect to Other Centres instead of only KFSH and having additional Training and better education for a wider range of staff. A data comparison between high- and low-usage centres showed similar patterns, but users from high-usage centres provided more motives, barriers and suggestions to improve the system. The suggestion of Continuing Medical Education was referenced more often from respondents in the low-usage centres. Health care providers who use the system were more interested in improving patient care, providing quality care and continuing medical education. The administrative staff were more concerned with addressing patient satisfaction and the immediacy of patient access. There are opportunities to conduct further research on similar telemedicine case studies to cover any possible gaps in this research.