Gastrointestinal specialist perspectives on telehealth consultations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Telehealth, care delivered via phone or video call, affects the delivery of healthcare, and this is reflected in provider and patient satisfaction. Aim: The aim of this study was to ascertain medical specialists’ experiences using telehealth in a single specialty group, gastroenterology. Methods: Gastrointestinal specialists known to the research team were invited to six semi-structured, one-on-one interviews conducted (by telephone) during the height of COVID-19 imposed telehealth practice. Specialists were asked about their experiences using telehealth. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed independently by two reviewers to identify major themes. Results: The absence of visual cues (when over the telephone) and limited physical examination in telehealth in general were perceived as major barriers for specialist telehealth consultations. Convenient for straightforward situations where relationships were already established, the complexity inherent in a specialist review challenged the telehealth medium. Discussion: Specialists acknowledged the pragmatism of telehealth in some situations, but emphasised logistical, technical, and communication barriers to using telehealth. Conclusions: Awareness of these limitations will direct training for clinicians and allied staff to better triage situations suited to a medium where neither participant are co-located.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68–85
Number of pages22
JournalQualitative Health Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • remote communication
  • specialist care
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine
  • qualitative interviews


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