Author(s): Jennett PA, Hunter BJ, Husack JP
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: This project identified telelearning projects associated with the 13 established Canadian telehealth centers in order to describe the nature of their activities, outline enablers and barriers to these activities, and present key action plans to move the Canadian agenda on telelearning in health forward. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data were collected by a one-page questionnaire sent to the Canadian telehealth centers. Recipients were asked to identify current partners in such activities and to indicate if such partners should complete a separate questionnaire. Forty-nine questionnaires were distributed. Reported enablers, barriers, and action plans were placed in categories and analyzed. Data from 37 questionnaires, referencing 101 projects, formed the basis of the analysis. RESULTS: More than half of the telelearning programs were developed for health providers, approximately one third for undergraduate or graduate students, and a small percentage for patients or the private sector. The most frequently used communication mode was two-way audio/video conferencing. Enabling conditions were grouped into four categories: Canada as a country, timing, infrastructure, and collaboration and support. Five categories of barriers were cited: lack of sustainable funding, insufficient infrastructure and resources for sustainable programs, absence of the required culture change, lack of standardization and defined policies, and unavailability of valid and reliable evaluation frameworks. Eight broad constructive action steps were suggested. CONCLUSIONS: The reported enablers can create momentum to carry telelearning into a position of prominence. The Canadian telehealth community recommends action steps that could facilitate the removal of barriers and maximize current opportunities.
This article was published in Telemed J
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation