Online Program

Are remote area candidates for virtual health ironically less tech conducive?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jon Martin, PhD, MM, BS, School of Applied Health Sciences, Pfeiffer University, Masters of Health Administration Program, Morrisville, NC

Background: Telemedicine is increasingly considered an alternative delivery method for delivering specialist resources, monitoring acute and/or intensive statuses, self-managing chronic disorders, and delivering patient information and results.  Tele-medicine is particularly attractive for remote geographies, socio-economically disadvantaged areas, and/or areas with aged populations.  However, little research has examined if these areas are less tech-conducive. 

Objective/Purpose:  This research examines if telemedicine candidate (NC) counties more remotely located from major medical areas and corridors are ironically less tech-conducive. It also examines the correlation of death rates to county medical proximity and tech-conduciveness.

Methods: Access tier levels (ATLs) are assigned to counties based upon their proximity to major medical facilities.  Tech-conducive factors are calculated for each county based upon income, age, ethnicity, and education demographics from national, state, and county censuses and are then normalized into a relative tech-conducive scores (TCS) that are regressed and correlated.

Results: a) a significant weak relationship between NC county proximity and TCS for the state (β = .252**, R2 = .054**), but a significant moderate relationship for the Piedmont region (β = .517**; R2 = .245**; b) a moderate negative relationship between death rates and TCS (β = -.538**, R2 = .282**); c) a moderate positive correlation between death rates and TCS (R = .392**); d) a moderate positive correlation between medical proximity and agedness of the population (R = .366**).

Discussion/Conclusion: A reverse relationship is indicated between counties’ proximity to major medical areas/corridors and their tech-conduciveness; less proximal counties are relatively less tech-conducive.  Understanding areas’ TCS and ATL could alter the application and/or configuration of telemedicine delivery and indicate tech-conducive changes that must occur prior to implementation.  There is a moderate positive correlation between death rates and tech conduciveness and between medical proximity and agedness; this warrants further socio-economic understanding and examination.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Assess the tech-conducive scores of counties from census data Differentiate the proximity of counties to major medical centers and areas Analyze the relationship of tech conducive scores with medical proximity Evaluate death rates, tech conducive scores, and medical proximity relationships

Keyword(s): Telehealth, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD in Organization and Management with dissertation/focus in self-service technologies and emphasis in quantitative research. I serve as an adviser to Carolina Health System's Virtual Care team led by Dr. Tony Hinson and assist them in site selections. I am intimately familiar with service delivery due to 20 years as an Operations Manager in the private sector.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.