Date of Award

8-2017

Rights

© 2017 Holly Wasserman

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Carey Clark

Second Advisor

Peter Fifield

Third Advisor

Katherine Dimitropoulou

Abstract

The use of telehealth for healthcare delivery is on the rise and is expected to increase due to the expansion of technological advances and the shortage of healthcare professionals to serve rural and remote communities. The use of telehealth by occupational therapists (OT) is relatively new, and it is unknown whether educational programs are adequately preparing OT students to practice in this context or if OT faculty members are adequately trained to deliver this content to their students. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive case study was to examine how faculty members teaching in a master’s level occupational therapy program in the 2017 academic year perceived the use of telehealth in healthcare delivery and how this impacts their ability to teach this content to their students. Data from eight individual interviews were coded, analyzed and organized into overarching categories, themes, and subthemes. There were three overarching categories: Telehealth-Use in Practice, Telehealth-Experience and Telehealth- Education and eight themes: Telehealth-Perceptions, Telehealth-Barriers, Telehealth-Benefits, Experience as a consumer, Experience as a therapist, Experience as an educator, Barriers to teaching and Facilitators to teaching, that emerged from the data. The findings of this study and the constructs of the Diffusion of Innovations Theory revealed that OT faculty members teaching at this OT program were in the Knowledge Stage of adoption regarding the use of telehealth in healthcare delivery. Faculty members at this program also did not view all the attributes of innovations (relative advantage, complexity, compatibility, triability, and observability) positively, thus were not fully ready to adopt the topic of telehealth into their program curriculum. This group would benefit from professional development and educational opportunities to learn more about telehealth, and how it works, followed by opportunities to try telehealth to facilitate the acceptance and adoption of this topic in their program curriculum. This study offers recommendations for stakeholders looking to evaluate faculty members’ knowledge and perceptions regarding telehealth to develop professional development opportunities as well as recommendations for future research for OTs and other healthcare professionals to advance student and clinicians education in the use of telehealth in practice.

Comments

Ed.D. Dissertation