Professionals' views of using technology and remote services in occupational health services
Keywords:occupational health services, telemedicine, experiences, health professionals, qualitative research
Technology and remote services are becoming more common in occupational health services (OHS), as technology becomes more centrally integrated into health care organizations’ use and work processes. To date, research on remote health care has not focused on OHS. The study’s purpose was to examine occupational health physicians’, nurses’, physiotherapists’ and psychologists’ experiences of using technology and remote services in their own work. The survey was conducted in February–March 2018. The data consisted of the responses to the questionnaires’ open-ended questions. The method of analysis was data-based thematic analysis.
The results show that the respondents’ attitudes to using technology and remote services are mostly positive. Positive experiences were related to the smoother flow of work, as well as to more effective communication and improved availability of services. The attitudes to the resulting changes in work tasks were ambivalent: on the one hand, work tasks were considered more enriched, but on the other, more fragmented. Less face-to-face meetings and technical problems were perceived as negative, as were both professionals’ and clients’ insufficient readiness and technical skills. We observed two extremes in the professionals’ learning needs. Some use technology in their work very little or not at all, and thus have great learning needs, whereas others only need to update their skills in newer technology and applications.
Using technology and remote services presents opportunities to renew OHS practices to meet client workplace needs with better quality and speed. The results can be used in developing current working methods.
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