Physiotherapists’ within the NHS believe eHealth integration can be enhanced: A qualitative Study
Question: What are NHS physiotherapists’ views and perspective on eHealth integration: the barriers and facilitators? Design: Qualitative study using four semi-structured focus groups and phenomenology approach. Participants: Eighteen qualified physiotherapists currently working within the NHS. Results: Four themes emerged from the data collected from the focus groups; general attitudes, efficiency and effectiveness of providing quality of care, considerations of technology-use and eHealth knowledge and understanding. General attitudes towards eHealth were perceived to have both positive and negative impacts on eHealth integration. Fear and a lack of trust may be antagonists of eHealth integration whereas optimism and engagement were seen as enablers. Patient self-management, information sharing and organisational culture was seen to be complemented by eHealth. Inadequate technological resources and inconsistencies between IT systems were integrational barriers and access to support services was considered a facilitator. Lack of eHealth literacy and knowledge were regarded as potential barriers to eHealth uptake and limited awareness of the potential benefits of eHealth may restrict uptake. Increased frequency and efficiency of eHealth training was established as an enabler of future uptake within the NHS. Conclusion: Participants believe eHealth can have a negative impact on health inequality if not integrated efficiently. Lack of trust and negative attitudes may be barriers to uptake. Increased awareness of eHealth benefits, optimised training and technological support are facilitators of efficient integration. Participants believe eHealth has positive implications on organisational culture, patient self-management and quality of care. Further research is required to understand how to enhance future NHS’ eHealth integration.