An eHealth Intervention for Patients in Rural Areas: Preliminary Findings From a Pilot Feasibility Study

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Date
2014-06
Authors
Schrader, Geoffrey
Bidargaddi, Niranjan
Harris, Melanie
Newman, Lareen Ann
Lynn, Sarah
Peterson, Leigh
Battersby, Malcolm Wayne
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Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
JMIR Publications
Abstract
Background: eHealth facilitation of chronic disease management has potential to increase engagement and effectiveness and extend access to care in rural areas. Objective: The objective of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility and acceptability of an eHealth system for the management of chronic conditions in a rural setting. Methods: We developed an online management program which incorporated content from the Flinders Chronic Condition Management Program (Flinders Program) and used an existing software platform (goACT), which is accessible by patients and health care workers using either Web-enabled mobile phone or Internet, enabling communication between patients and clinicians. We analyzed the impact of this eHealth system using qualitative and simple quantitative methods. Results: The eHealth system was piloted with 8 recently hospitalized patients from rural areas, average age 63 (SD 9) years, each with an average of 5 chronic conditions and high level of psychological distress with an average K10 score of 32.20 (SD 5.81). Study participants interacted with the eHealth system. The average number of logins to the eHealth system by the study participants was 26.4 (SD 23.5) over 29 weeks. The login activity was higher early in the week. Conclusions: The pilot demonstrated the feasibility of implementing and delivering a chronic disease management program using a Web-based patient-clinician application. A qualitative analysis revealed burden of illness and low levels of information technology literacy as barriers to patient engagement.
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This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
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Citation
Schrader G, Bidargaddi N, Harris M, Newman L, Lynn S, Peterson L and Battersby M (2014) An eHealth intervention for patients in rural areas: Preliminary findings from a pilot feasibility study. Original Paper. JMIR Research Protocols 3(2): e27