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Telemed J E Health. 2018 Sep 6. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2018.0082. [Epub ahead of print]

Evaluation of a Telehealth Counseling Program for Expatriates.

Park HY1, Kim JY2,3, Koo HY2, Han J2, Jun JH4, Lee W5,3,6, Na KY7,8,3, Lee HY7, Pak Y3, Jang S3, Kim S3,6, Jeong C9, Nam T9.

Author information

1
1 Health Promotion Center , Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Korea.
2
2 Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital , Seongnam, Korea.
3
7 Office of External Affairs, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
4
3 Department of Family Medicine, Chamjoeun Hospital , Gwangju, Korea.
5
4 Department of Cardiology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
6
8 International Healthcare Center, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital , Seongnam, Korea.
7
5 Research Institute of Healthcare Policy, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
8
6 Department of Nephrology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
9
9 Ushin C & C , Ansan, Korea.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Health problems for expatriates are common due to their vulnerability to local infectious diseases, psychosocial problems, and chronic diseases, but many problems go largely unmet in this unique population.

INTRODUCTION:

Telehealth counseling was developed and tested for Korean expatriates. We explored the current status of using telehealth counseling systems and showed its feasibility and acceptability in three countries.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

This retrospective study was based on the "Development and demonstration of telehealth counseling program for overseas Koreans" project funded by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute. In this project, we established five Digital Healthcare Centers (DHCs): 3 in Vietnam and 1 each in Uzbekistan and Cambodia. We used data from October 2016 to September 2017; descriptive analysis and one-way ANOVA were used to present detailed information.

RESULTS:

A total of 442 patients made an appointment for telehealth counseling services. Overall user satisfaction rates were 96.1%. Over two thirds of patients (302/442, 68.3%) completed one-time telehealth counseling. About 13% were referred to primary care, and 17 (3.8%) were referred to specialists or tertiary hospital. The most common diagnostic category was endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases (14%), followed by diseases of the circulatory system (12.3%) for one-time visit patients.

DISCUSSION:

Our telehealth counseling program for expatriates was feasible and acceptable in three countries. It also has the potential to minimize language barriers and the cost of healthcare usage.

CONCLUSION:

Further research for sustainable effective telehealth systems for expatriates will be needed.

KEYWORDS:

acceptability; expatriates; feasibility; occupational travelers; telehealth counseling; telemedicine

PMID:
30192207
DOI:
10.1089/tmj.2018.0082

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