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J Telemed Telecare. 2005;11 Suppl 1:107-9.

Diffusion theory and telemedicine adoption by Kansas health-care providers: critical factors in telemedicine adoption for improved patient access.

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  • 1Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City 66160, USA.


Twenty counties in Kansas were randomly selected from those designated as rural on the basis of their populations. A sample of 356 physicians and physicians' assistants in these counties was chosen. A postal survey was sent to the identified providers up to three times. One hundred and eighty-six of the questionnaires were returned (a response rate of 52%). In all, 76% of the respondents were physicians, 76% were men and 42% were family practitioners. Practitioners were classified as adopters or non-adopters of telemedicine, based on their report of whether they had ever referred one or more patients for a health-care consultation via telemedicine. Of the 167 participants who marked this item, 30 (18%) were adopters and 137 (82%) were non-adopters. Among the adopters, 16 (53%) said that they expected to use telemedicine with about the same frequency or more often in the future. In contrast, 61 (45%) non-adopters reported that they did not expect to refer patients by telemedicine in the future and 51 (37%) were unsure. Neither age (r = 0.16, P = 0.44) nor gender (chi2 = 2.35, P = 0.13) was related to the adoption variable or the number of referrals made to telemedicine clinics. The results suggest that adopters and non-adopters of telemedicine perceive its value very differently, and that an opportunity exists to promote the concept to non-adopters more effectively.

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