Telehealth use in Australian cystic fibrosis centers: Clinician experiences

Shivanthan Shanthikumar, Rasa Ruseckaite, Jen Corda, Siobhain Mulrennan, Sarath Ranganathan, Tonia Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Telehealth has been rapidly adopted by cystic fibrosis (CF) centers and ongoing use in routine CF care is endorsed by CF consumers. However, data describing CF clinician perceptions regarding telehealth are scarce. We aimed to describe clinician experiences and attitudes towards telehealth in CF care among health professionals across Australia. Methods: CF multidisciplinary health professionals from all CF clinics in Australia were sent an anonymous electronic survey. Results: Eighty-five responses were received representing 15 of 23 (65%) centers. Most clinicians reported using telehealth for routine clinic visits, and a range of other clinical encounters (69.9%). Telehealth was widely perceived as acceptable (91.8%), and clinicians were comfortable/very comfortable (81.2%) integrating telehealth into future CF care. Despite this, 64.1% of respondents considered telehealth clinics to be much worse than face-to-face clinics and 57.5% reported quality of care was somewhat/much worse using telehealth. Home spirometry was available in 73.7% of centers, however, only 26.7% of clinics could provide spirometers for >75% eligible patients. Growth and microbiology assessments were often missed in telehealth clinics and 75.7% reported a technical issue had prevented a telehealth consultation from occurring. Conclusions: Telehealth for CF in Australia is considered feasible and acceptable by CF clinicians, although use of telehealth varies widely between centers. Concerns exist around the impact of telehealth on health outcomes, especially given core assessments are frequently omitted. Guidelines may help ensure the benefits of telehealth are realized for people with CF without compromising the standard of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2906-2915
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Volume58
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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