Positive impact of a telemedicine education program on practicing health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, Canada: A mixed methods study of an Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) program
Introduction: In addition to shifting and expanding clinical responsibilities, rapidly evolving information and guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for health care workers (HCW) to synthesise and translate COVID-19 information into practice. This study evaluated whether a COVID-19-specific telemedicine education program (ECHO COVID) would impact health care workers’ self-efficacy and satisfaction in the management of patients with COVID-19. Methods: A prospective mixed methods parallel-design study was conducted among ECHO COVID participants using prepost questionnaires and a focus group discussion. Questionnaire results were examined for changes in health care workers’ self-efficacy and satisfaction. Focus group discussion data were analysed to explore health care workers’ experience in ECHO COVID and the context of their practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: 239 health care workers registered in ECHO COVID and 114 (47.7%) completed questionnaires and attended at least one ECHO COVID session. Median self-efficacy scores increased from 5 (IQR 4–6) to 6 (IQR 6–6) (p<0.0001), independent of profession, years in practice, age group, or practice environment. Participants were highly satisfied with ECHO COVID sessions with a median score of 4 (IQR 4–5). Focus group discussion data indicated that health care workers gained knowledge through ECHO COVID and revealed facilitators for ECHO COVID program success, including the transition to virtual care, the practicability of knowledge provided, and a ‘perspective from the trenches.’
Zhao, Q. J., Rozenberg, D., Nourouzpour, S., Orchanian-Cheff, A., Flannery, J., Kaul, R... & Furlan, A. D. (2021). Positive impact of a telemedicine education program on practicing health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, Canada: A mixed methods study of an Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) program. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. 2021. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1357633X211059688.