This article was originally published here
BMC Womens Health. 2021 Jan 18;21(1):30. doi: 10.1186/s12905-020-01163-7.
BACKGROUND: Telehealth and teleradiology are increasingly used around the world to facilitate health care provision when the health care provider and clients are separated by distance. The BreastScreen Australia Remote Radiology Assessment Model (RRAM) is an initiative developed to address the challenges of inadequate access to a local radiological workforce in regional Australia. With the growth in telehealth innovations more broadly, the RRAM represents a departure from the traditional onsite model where a radiologist would be co-located with practice staff during assessment clinics. Understanding client satisfaction is an important consideration with new models. This article explores client perceptions of the RRAM including awareness, satisfaction with experiences, confidence in the quality of care being received, and preferences regarding models of service delivery.
METHODS: Clients in four BreastScreen services across three Australian states and territories were invited to provide feedback on their experiences of the RRAM. Brief face-to-face interviews based on a survey were conducted at the conclusion of assessment clinic visits. Clients also provided feedback through surveys completed and returned by post, and online.
RESULTS: 144 clients completed the survey regarding their experiences of the RRAM. The majority were aged between 50 and 59 years (55/144, 38.2%). Most had attended a BreastScreen service for either screening or assessment on a total of two to five occasions (85/142, 59.9%) in the past. Nearly all women who attended a RRAM clinic expressed satisfaction with their experience (142/143, 99.3%). Clients were aware that the radiologist was working from another location (131/143, 91.6%) and the majority believed there wouldn’t be any difference in the care they received between the RRAM and the onsite model (120/142, 84.5%). Clients generally had no particular preference for either the onsite or RRAM model of service delivery.
CONCLUSIONS: Clients’ high satisfaction with their clinic experiences, high confidence in care being received, and the majority having no preference for either the onsite or remote model indicates their acceptance of the RRAM. Client acceptance of the model supports continuation of the RRAM at these sites and expansion. Findings may inform future telehealth innovations where key health care team members are working remotely.