Virtual Visit Evaluation from the Perspectives of Physicians and Patients: A Qualitative Study in a Developing Country

Parastoo Amiri, Elahe Jozpour, Ladan Kouhgardzadeh, Kambiz Bahaadinbeigy, Moslem Soofi, Ali Mohammadi
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Abstract

Introduction: Many patients, especially in rural and remote areas, face the problem of unavailability of specialists. Today, virtual visit technology is used by the public as a solution to solve the problem of lack of access to specialists and reduce unnecessary costs. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the virtual visit system from the point of view of physicians and patients.

Material and Methods: This cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted from June to August 2023 in Kermanshah. Semi-structured and in-depth interviews were conducted face-to-face with five physicians and ten patients. All interviews were transcribed verbatim. Data analysis utilized the SWOT framework and the software Atlas.ti8.

Results: The results of this study revealed that virtual visits have strengths such as minimal infrastructure requirements, cost reduction, and human resource efficiency. Weaknesses include the absence of physical examination, reduced quality of examinations, and limitations for certain patients. Opportunities include quick visits in remote areas and a decrease in health disparities, while threats encompass potential privacy breaches, violation of patient information confidentiality, lack of motivation among health users, and limited access to technology.

Conclusion: Based on the study findings, in healthcare crises, telemedicine technology proves effective in providing primary healthcare services. Telemedicine plays a crucial role in health by enhancing access and reducing costs. To optimize this process, a comprehensive strategy in digital health, involving infrastructure investment and stakeholder feedback, is evident. Sharing experiences and addressing challenges empower managers to enhance healthcare services through virtual visits, adapting to the prevailing conditions.

Keywords

Virtual Visits; Physicians; Patients; SWOT Analysis; Qualitative Study;

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30699/fhi.v13i0.568

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