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J Clin Nurs. 2009 Sep;18(18):2573-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02427.x.

Patients and families experiences with video telehealth in rural/remote communities in Northern Canada.

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School of Nursing, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada.



To explore patients' and families' experiences with video telehealth consultations as a method of health care delivery in rural/ remote communities in Northern Canada.


Accessing health services in isolated populations where human resources and infrastructure are constrained by vast geographical landmasses poses challenges and opportunities for nurses, health care providers, patients and families.


A qualitative approach was adopted with a purposeful sample of 10 patients and four family members representative of nine communities.


Selection criteria included patients receiving telehealth visits for a minimum of a year and willing to share their experiences. Data were collected during the winter of 2006 using semi-structured video taped interviews and analysed using a qualitative thematic content analysis.


Patients and families experiences of their telehealth visits centered on three key themes: lessening the burden (costs of travel, accommodations, lost wages, lost time and physical limitations), maximising supports (access to family, friends, familiar home environment, nurses and other care providers), tailoring specific e-health systems to enhance patient and family needs.


The benefits of telehealth extend not only to patients and families but are linked to benefits for providers as well as the health care system.


This study indicates that video telehealth is an effective mechanism for delivering nursing and other health services to rural/remote communities and can impact positively on the quality of health care. The integration of telehealth practice can enhance the coordination, organisation and implementation of health care services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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