Fetal telemedicine pilot – a study of clinical stakeholder acceptance of a tele-ultrasound innovation linking a rural district general hospital with a fetal medicine unit at a major teaching hospital in northern England

Elaine Bidmead, Stephen Robson, Vikki Smith, Alison Marshall

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


ntroduction The pilot explored delivery of complex obstetric ultrasound services via videoconferencing. A video link enabled a fetal medicine specialist to synchronously examine ultrasound images captured by sonographers at the DGH and to conduct remote consultations with parents. The study was undertaken to understand the barriers and enablers of technology adoption from the perspectives of clinical stakeholders.

Methods Adopted from the Stakeholder Empowered Adoption Model developed by the University of Cumbria, commissioners and managers were involved in determining the evidence needed to assist decision making; semi-structured qualitative interviews were then undertaken with six key clinical stakeholders.

Results The study identified a range of tangible benefits to DGH staff. Sonographers were upskilled; more involved in women's pregnancies; and had better access to specialist support. Consultants felt better supported and less isolated professionally, resulting in improved management of high risk pregnancies. All clinicians recognised benefits for women of convenience and continuity of care. Potential barriers included: engagement of DGH executive/management; establishing the video-link; interruption of routine practise. Most challenges were overcome within the pilot

Conclusion Fetal ultrasound via telemedicine has enhanced maternity provision at the DGH. Whilst staff acceptance is an identified barrier to adoption of telehealth, tangible benefits are known enablers. In this instance the identification of tangible early benefits for patients and staff influenced staff acceptance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2017
EventBritish Maternal & Fetal Medicine Society (BMFMS) : 19th Annual Conference - The Netherlands, Amsterdam
Duration: 30 Mar 201731 Mar 2017


ConferenceBritish Maternal & Fetal Medicine Society (BMFMS)
Abbreviated titleBMFMS
Internet address

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