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General Practitioners' Perspective on eHealth and Lifestyle Change: Qualitative Interview Study.

General Practitioners' Perspective on eHealth and Lifestyle Change: Qualitative Interview Study.
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General Practitioners' Perspective on eHealth and Lifestyle Change: Qualitative Interview Study.

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018 Apr 17;6(4):e88

Authors: Brandt CJ, Søgaard GI, Clemensen J, Sndergaard J, Nielsen JB

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Wearables, fitness apps, and patient home monitoring devices are used increasingly by patients and other individuals with lifestyle challenges. All Danish general practitioners (GPs) use digital health records and electronic health (eHealth) consultations on a daily basis, but how they perceive the increasing demand for lifestyle advice and whether they see eHealth as part of their lifestyle support should be explored further.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore GPs' perspectives on eHealth devices and apps and the use of eHealth in supporting healthy lifestyle behavior for their patients and themselves.
METHODS: A total of 10 (5 female and 5 male) GPs were recruited by purposive sampling, aged 38 to 69 years (mean 51 years), of which 4 had an urban uptake of patients and 6 a rural uptake. All of them worked in the region of Southern Denmark where GPs typically work alone or in partnership with 1 to 4 colleagues and all use electronic patient health records for prescription, referral, and asynchronous electronic consultations. We performed qualitative, semistructured, individual in-depth interviews with the GPs in their own office about how they used eHealth and mHealth devices to help patients challenged with lifestyle issues and themselves. We also interviewed how they treated lifestyle-challenged patients in general and how they imagined eHealth could be used in the future.
RESULTS: All GPs had smartphones or tablets, and everyone communicated on a daily basis with patients about disease and medicine via their electronic health record and the internet. We identified 3 themes concerning the use of eHealth: (1) how eHealth is used for patients; (2) general practitioners' own experience with improving lifestyle and eHealth support; and (3) relevant coaching techniques for transformation into eHealth.
CONCLUSIONS: GPs used eHealth frequently for themselves but only infrequently for their patients. GPs are familiar with behavioral change techniques and are ready to use them in eHealth if they are used to optimize processes and not hinder other treatments. Looking ahead, education of GPs and recognizing patients' ability and preference to use eHealth with regard to a healthy living are needed.

PMID: 29666045 [PubMed]

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