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Constituting Factors of a Digitally Influenced Relationship between Patients and Primary Care Physicians in Rural Areas

By Marius Müller, Michael Knop, Caroline Ressing, Henrik Freude, Frederike Marie Oschinsky, Hans Christian Klein and Bjoern Niehaves


In times of an ageing society and a rural exodus of primary care physicians, healthcare systems are facing major challenges. To maintain comprehensive care and an equitable access to healthcare services, today’s technological advancements represent a promising measure. Technologies empower patients by providing innovative tools such as sensors and applications for self-measurement, leading to self-initiated interventions, while supporting physicians in handling rising demands through telemedicine and spatially detached solutions. These enhanced treatments come with patient and physician-sided challenges such as incorrect digital information provided to the patient, negatively affecting treatment quality and leading to high issue resolving efforts. In order to investigate the perspectives of rural physicians on treatment digitalization and effects of patient empowerment, we conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. Our findings show that patient activation, impacts on treatment process, patient differentiation, and patient-physician-interaction are relevant factors in the physicians’ valuation and willingness to use health technologies

Topics: Digitalization, Telemedicine, Patient Empowerment, Healthcare, Patient-Physician Relationship
Publisher: AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Year: 2020
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