Young adults' views on telemedicine consultations for sexual health in Australia
AuthorGarrett, Cameryn Claire
AffiliationMedicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences, Centre for Women’s Health, Gender and Society; School of Population Health
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsGarrett, C. C. (2012). Young adults' views on telemedicine consultations for sexual health in Australia. PhD thesis, Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences, Centre for Women’s Health, Gender and Society; School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2012 Dr. Cameryn Claire Garrett
Background: Young people have high rates of sexually transmissible infections and face barriers to accessing sexual health services. It had been suggested that telemedicine could overcome these barriers. Method: Two investigations were conducted: SHOUT: Young people’s (aged 16-24) pre-use views on telemedicine consultations for sexual health were investigated through a national online questionnaire in Australia.TESTme: Clients’ and key informants’ views on a year-long piloted telemedicine sexual health service, which offered telephone and webcam consultations, were examined through a questionnaire and interviews. Results: SHOUT: 662 questionnaires were completed. If living close to a doctor, most young people prefer to have a sexual health consultation in person. If distance is a barrier, the majority prefer a telephone consultation. 23% were willing to have a webcam consultation with a known doctor (unknown doctor: 21%). If a genital examination was necessary, an in-person consultation was preferred. Men were more willing than women to have a webcam sexual health consultation. The main concerns about webcam consultations in the free text responses involved privacy and security, relating to the possibility of webcam consultations being recorded, saved, and potentially searchable and retrievable by others online. Reasons for and implications of these concerns for digital medical consultations are discussed, drawing on the theories of Boyd, Meyrowitz, and Nissenbaum. TESTme: Client numbers were much lower than expected: 25 rural youth aged 15-24 used the service. 18 returned the questionnaire, 4 were interviewed. All chose telephone consultations, giving as their main reasons: not owning a webcam, familiarity of the telephone, convenience, and finding video confronting. Reasons for using the TESTme service instead of visiting a clinic were: access to a female nurse, convenience, confidentiality concerns, and cost. The eight key informants who designed and ran the service were interviewed. Their nominated reasons for low client numbers were lack of discussion with the service’s target audience, barriers to optimal promotion of the service, and young people’s inaccurate perception of risk. There was evidence that the clinicians’ “expert authority” underpinned the design of the service. Conclusion: This is the first study to examine young adults’ views on telemedicine consultations for sexual health care, providing evidence to inform service development in an important area of public health. The results reveal that telephone consultations were a welcomed addition to in-person care. While only a subset of respondents was willing to have a webcam consultation, the service may benefit youth who might not otherwise access sexual health services. Rather than using the results to dismiss the use of webcam consultations, they are better understood as indicating the value of offering a variety of services to cater to heterogeneous needs. Webcam consultations may become more acceptable if privacy and security concerns are minimised.
Keywordstelemedicine; sexually transmitted diseases; young adult
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format" and choose "open with... Endnote".
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format". Login to Refworks, go to References => Import References