Service user and staff acceptance of fetal ultrasound telemedicine

Elaine Bidmead, Mabel Lie, Alison Marshall, Stephen Robson, Vikki Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: We present qualitative findings from interviews with frontline clinicians and service users of a fetal telemedicine service. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with clinical stakeholders and service users were conducted, undertaken as part of a service evaluation. Data collection was undertaken by different teams, using interview schedules aligned to independent evaluation aims. Data were subjected to thematic analysis. Results: Sonographers reported four main challenges: delivering a shared consultation; the requirement to resist scanning intuitively; communications during the scan; and restricted room space. Notwithstanding, all clinicians reported that participating women were accepting of the technology. Service users reported few concerns. The main benefits of fetal telemedicine were identified as upskilled staff, increased access to specialist support and improved management of complex pregnancies. Convenience was identified as the main benefit by service users, including savings in time and money from not having to travel, take time off work, and arrange childcare. Conclusions: Service users and clinical stakeholders were accepting of the service. Service users reported satisfaction with communications during the consultation and awareness that telemedicine had facilitated local access to clinical expertise. Whilst clinical stakeholders reported challenges, the iterative nature of the evaluation meant that concerns were discussed, responded to, and overcome as the pilot developed. Clinical stakeholders’ perception of benefits for service users encouraged their acceptance. Moreover, the evaluation established that fetal ultrasound telemedicine is a viable method to access expertise safely and remotely. It provided demonstrable evidence of a potential solution to some of the healthcare challenges facing rural hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number205520762092592
Number of pages12
JournalDigital Health
Early online date14 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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