AIM: To explore patients' and healthcare professionals' experiences of using a telehealth solution developed to improve follow-up after kidney transplantation.
BACKGROUND: Transplantation is the treatment of choice whenever feasible for patients with end-stage kidney disease. However, it implies lifelong adherence of self-monitoring, medicine and other restrictions to ensure successful outcomes. Based on user involvement, a telehealth solution was developed to support patients and healthcare professionals post-transplantation.
DESIGN: An explorative qualitative study with a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach.
METHODS: The developed app and workflow for follow-up were tested by patients and healthcare professionals and evaluated with interviews. In total, 16 patients and 20 healthcare professionals participated. Individual interviews were conducted with the patients, four nurses participated in two sets of interviews, and 16 doctors participated in a focus group. Data were analysed with inspiration from Ricoeur's theory of interpretation, on three levels: Naïve reading, structural analysis and critical interpretation and discussion. The COREQ checklist was applied in reporting the study.
RESULTS: Three themes emerged: Challenging conditions for training sessions, telehealth improves patient reflection and collaboration, and telehealth gives patients a voice in consultations. In a challenging time, post-transplantation patients found the app easy to use; it facilitated support and reflection on how to manage. It also supported both patients and healthcare professionals at follow-up consultations in terms of enhanced preparation, improved dialogue and enabling consultations by phone.
CONCLUSION: The study showed that patients and healthcare professionals found the app and workflow valuable and easy to use. The Patient Data feature in the app has potential as a communication tool. However, adjustments and further investigations are needed to develop the solution.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The potential of telehealth brings new opportunities to provide treatment and care to newly transplanted patients. Telehealth can support both patients and health professionals by improving dialogue and collaboration.