Key Determinants to Using Telehealth Technology to Serve Medically Ill and Depressed Homebound Older Adults

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Despite the increasing evidence for the effectiveness of telehealth technology in screening and treating chronic diseases, and comorbid depression among older adults, they have been slowly adopted by home health care (HHC) agencies. Therefore, this study aimed to identify factors that determine telehealth technology adoption. Twenty directors from the National Association for Homecare & Hospice member agencies completed a 45-min telephone interview. Questions were asked regarding their perceptions of telehealth, the key determinants of telehealth adoption and use, and recommendations they would give on telehealth adoption. The majority of the participants perceived telehealth as effective for managing symptoms and reducing cost. Meanwhile, some participants had a mixed feeling toward telehealth for depression care as they did not recognize their agency as equipped with the necessary resources and trained staff. Moreover, significant determinants of telehealth adoption included the agency-related characteristics, the patient-home environment, reimbursement and cost-related factors, and staff telehealth perception. Findings imply that there is a need for financial support both at the state and the federal levels to encourage telehealth adoption among HHC agencies. Future studies should consider exploring strategies used by successful programs to overcome barriers.