Understanding the Need of Health Care Providers for Teleconsultation and Technological Attributes in Relation to The Acceptance of Teleconsultation in Malaysia: A Mixed Methods Study
The aim of this study was to explore the importance of service need along with perceived technology attributes in potentially influence the acceptance of teleconsultation. The study was conducted based on the concurrent triangulation design involving qualitative and quantitative study methods. These entailed interviews with key informants and questionnaires survey of health care providers who practiced in the participating hospitals in Malaysia. Thematic analysis involving iterative coding was conducted on qualitative data. Scale reliability test and hypothesis testing procedures were performed on quantitative data. Subsequently, both data were merged, compared and interpreted. In particular, this study utilized a qualitative priority such that a superior emphasis was placed on the qualitative method to demonstrate an overall understanding. Based on the responses of 20 key informants, there was a significant need for teleconsultation as a tool to extend health services to patients under constrained resources and critical conditions. Apparently, the latest attributes of teleconsultation technology have generally met users' expectation but rather perceived as supportive facets in encouraging the usage. Concurrently, based on the survey engaging 72 health care providers, teleconsultation acceptance was statistically proven to be strongly associated with service need and not originated exclusively from the technological attributes. Additionally, the results of this study can be used to promote teleconsultation as an effective means in delivering better health services. Thus, the categories emerged from this study may be further revised and examined for explaining the acceptance of teleconsultation technology in other relevant contexts.