Author(s):Liu Y, Zupan NJ, Swearingen R, Jacobson N, Carlson JN, Mahoney JE, Klein R, Bjelland TD, Smith MA. Identification of barriers, facilitators and system-based implementation strategies to increase teleophthalmology use for diabetic eye screening in a rural US primary care clinic: a qualitative study. BMJ Open. 2019 Feb 18;9(2):e022594. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022594.
Journal: Bmj Open, Volume 9, Issue 2, Feb 2019
OBJECTIVE Teleophthalmology for diabetic eye screening is an evidence-based intervention substantially underused in US multipayer primary care clinics, even when equipment and trained personnel are readily available. We sought to identify patient and primary care provider (PCP) barriers, facilitators, as well as strategies to increase teleophthalmology use.
DESIGN We conducted standardised open-ended, individual interviews and analysed the transcripts using both inductive and directed content analysis to identify barriers and facilitators to teleophthalmology use. The Chronic Care Model was used as a framework for the development of the interview guide and for categorising implementation strategies to increase teleophthalmology use.
SETTING A rural, US multipayer primary care clinic with an established teleophthalmology programme for diabetic eye screening.
PARTICIPANTS We conducted interviews with 29 participants (20 patients with diabetes and 9 PCPs).
RESULTS Major patient barriers to teleophthalmology use included being unfamiliar with teleophthalmology, misconceptions about diabetic eye screening and logistical challenges. Major patient facilitators included a recommendation from the patient’s PCP and factors related to convenience. Major PCP barriers to referring patients for teleophthalmology included difficulty identifying when patients are due for diabetic eye screening and being unfamiliar with teleophthalmology. Major PCP facilitators included the ease of the referral process and the communication of screening results. Based on our results, we developed a model that maps where these key patient and PCP barriers occur in the teleophthalmology referral process. Patients and PCPs also identified implementation strategies to directly address barriers and facilitators to teleophthalmology use.
CONCLUSIONS Patients and PCPs have limited familiarity with teleophthalmology for diabetic eye screening. PCPs were expected to initiate teleophthalmology referrals, but reported significant difficulty identifying when patients are due for diabetic eye screening. System-based implementation strategies primarily targeting PCP barriers in conjunction with improved patient and provider education may increase teleophthalmology use in rural, US multipayer primary care clinics.