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Health Psychol. 2016 Jan;35(1):60-8. doi: 10.1037/hea0000246. Epub 2015 Jul 6.

"It's sort of a lifeline": Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients' experiences of home telehealth.

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Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield.
School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield.
Manchester Centre for Health Psychology, School of Psychological Sciences, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, University of Manchester.



Home telehealth can provide considerable benefits to people diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, yet 20% of patients abandon telehealth. Identifying the factors that affect whether or not a patient decides to continue using telehealth is therefore crucial to the goal of mainstreaming telehealth. However, studies to date have only assessed the perceptions of patients who are not currently using telehealth, have used telehealth in experimental sessions, or are enrolled in a trial. The aim of the present study was to explore the beliefs and perceptions of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease currently using home telehealth and who are not enrolled in a trial.


Semistructured interviews were conducted with 8 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Interviews were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.


Four superordinate themes are presented: (a) perceiving benefits of "being watched over" as providing peace of mind, (b) learning about the health condition and the impacts on self-management behavior, (c) active engagement in health service provision and better access to health care, and (d) valuing the importance of in-person care.


Users generally describe home telehealth in positive terms; however, patients still value face-to-face contact with health care professionals. The positive aspects of home telehealth, such as better access to health care and providing peace of mind, could be communicated to prospective users to improve uptake. Similarly, sustained use of telehealth is likely to be ensured if occasional visits from health care professionals are maintained.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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