Monday, August 1, 2011

Report: Telemedicine companies should explore granting free trial period

A brief use of a Web-based telemedicine service has a significant positive effect on patients' perceptions of the service, according to a survey conducted by a team of Dutch experts.

The researchers, from the University of Twente, concluded that healthcare providers should consider offering patients a risk-free way to explore and experiment telemedicine services. They said that by doing so telemedicine companies can increase the development of accurate perceptions and user needs.  

The survey focused on investigating whether patients' perceptions of Web-based telemedicine services changed after brief use. The research included 30 patients, who were divided into a control group and an experimental group. The results indicated that patients within the experimental group became significantly more positive about the usefulness and ease-of-use after a very short period of use. 

The report indicates that despite the great potential of telemedicine user acceptance proves one important barrier to implementation in mainstream healthcare. 

"These results show the significant positive effect of brief use of a telemedicine service on patients' perceptions of this service," The authors concluded. "Therefore, it is important to offer patients the opportunity to experiment with the service to foster the development of accurate beliefs, which will consequently result in more adequate user needs possibly benefiting patient acceptance." 

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