The incidence of diabetes, a common chronic disease among older adults, is increasing annually. The lack of blood glucose regulation can result in severe diabetes-related complications and substantial healthcare costs, making self-care programs specific to this population especially important. Combined with reduced numbers of healthcare professionals, the integration of healthcare and information technology and the older adults' adoption of telehealth services have become increasingly important. This study used a qualitative method to interview 18 older study participants who used a telehealth service. Subject perceptions and suggestions regarding using such a service for diabetes management were investigated. Content analysis was used to examine the interview data and determine the older patients' acceptance and perceived benefits of telehealth service. Four main themes emerged: (1) initial trial encouragement from the doctors, nurses, and financial incentives; (2) enhanced self-management capability through continuous device use for better outcomes; (3) ambivalent feelings regarding dependence on others for problem solving; and (4) consideration for continual technology use for an uncertain future. These results serve as a reference for promoting, assessing, and verifying telehealth models for older patients with diabetes.
Author Affiliations: Department of Nursing, Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology (Dr Chang), Hualien; School of Nursing, National Yang-Ming University (Dr Lee), Taipei, Taiwan; and School of Nursing, University of Maryland (Dr Mills), Baltimore.
This study was funded by a grant (NSC-99-2314-B-227-006-MY3) to T.T.L. from National Science Council.
The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.
Corresponding author: Ting-Ting Lee, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, No 155, Sec 2, Linong St, Taipei 11221, Taiwan (firstname.lastname@example.org).