The beliefs of Senegal's physicians toward the use of telemedicine.Pan Afr Med J. 2019; 34:97.PA
Telemedicine is seen as a potential solution to improve access to specialist services in underserved areas, but using telemedicine depends on physicians' beliefs regarding its use. Applying the theory of planned behaviour, there are three kinds of beliefs of relevance: behavioural, normative and control beliefs. This study aimed to determine the behavioural, normative and control beliefs of Senegal's physicians regarding the use of telemedicine.
A qualitative descriptive study involving individual interviews with physicians was conducted between January and June 2014. It included 32 physicians working in public hospitals and 37 physicians working in district health centres. Interviews were taped, transcribed and their content coded thematically using the NVivo 10 software.
The most significant positive behavioural belief was that telemedicine makes experts' opinions accessible despite distance; the most important negative behavioural belief was that telemedicine can lead to medical errors. The positive normative belief mentioned most was that patients approve the use of telemedicine, but the negative normative belief mentioned most was that the patients would not approve it. The prevailing positive control belief was that physicians will use telemedicine if it is easy to use and the most cited negative control belief was that physicians will not use telemedicine if they have insufficient time.
The results of this study provide a better understanding of the beliefs of Senegal's physicians regarding telemedicine, which can help in designing interventions to promote its use. Such interventions may help improve access to healthcare in rural areas.