Telemedicine Use and the Perceived Risk of COVID-19: Patient Experience
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Introduction: The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in an increased demand for telemedicine worldwide. Telemedicine is a technology-based virtual platform that allows the exchange of clinical data and images over remote distances. This study aims to examine the impact of the perceived risk of COVID-19 on telemedicine use in Bangladesh. Methods: This explanatory study was conducted in hospital settings across Dhaka city in Bangladesh. Patients were eligible to participate if they were aged 18 years or over and had used telemedicine in a hospital at least once since the COVID-19 outbreak. Outcome variables included sociodemographic, the perceived risk of COVID-19, and telehealth use. Study data were collected using an online and paper-based survey. Results: A total of 550 patients participated in this study, mostly male (66.4%), single (58.2%), and highly educated (74.2%). The means of the different domains of telemedicine use reflected a high degree of perceived benefit, accessibility, and satisfaction but a lower degree of privacy and discomfort, care personnel expertise, and usability. COVID 19 perceived risk predicted between 13.0% and 26.6% of variance in telemedicine domains, while the effects of demographic variables were controlled or removed. The perceived risk of COVID-19 was negatively correlated with privacy and discomfort, as well as care personnel concerns. Low and high levels of perceived COVID-19 risk were less likely to encourage the use of telemedicine as a risk reduction tool. Discussion: The participants were mainly satisfied with telemedicine, finding it beneficial and accessible; however, many were concerned about privacy, care personnel expertise, and its usability. The perceived risk of COVID-19 was a strong predictor (contributor) of telemedicine use, suggesting that risk perception can be used to encourage telemedicine use as a risk reduction strategy during pandemics; however, a medium level of risk was more promising.
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Australian Academy of Science