Attitudes of Telemedicine Adoption Among Behavioral Health Patients: A Quantitative Study

Attitudes of Telemedicine Adoption Among Behavioral Health Patients: A Quantitative Study

Author: 
Michelle E. Cort
Program of study: 
D.H.A.
Abstract: 
The costs of behavioral healthcare, following the trend of the general costs of healthcare in the United States, are very high and rising. The proportion of Americans with some form of behavioral health problem is also rising. These problems are related to each other in that there is, at least in economic theory, a trade-off between the quality of a service and the cost of delivering that service. Telemedicine is a potential solution to this problem in that telemedicine is theoretically capable of maintaining the quality of healthcare while delivering cost savings. The specific problem associated with the study of telemedicine in behavioral healthcare is that there is neither an empirical model nor a theory for understanding how patients’ demographics, attitudes to technology, and living conditions, among other variables, might predict their adoption of telemedicine. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine how variation in numerous predictor variables (demographics, attitudes to technology, and living conditions) were associated with variation in behavioral health patients’ attitudes to adopting telemedicine. The population of the study consisted of behavioral health patients, and the specific purposes of the study were achieved by submitting a Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) based survey to a sample of behavioral health patients in Atlanta, Georgia. It was found that none of the predictor variable significantly predicted variation in the intention to adopt telemedicine. The larger meaning of the findings was that intentions to adopt telemedicine were highly stable; they were not influenced by gender, race, age, or living conditions. Hence, mental and behavioral populations might be ready to adopt telemedicine broadly.
Dedication: 
I would like to dedicate this dissertation to my dear departed mother and father, both of whom adamantly insisted that I complete my education and become a lifelong learner. I thank them for their unconditional love, faith, prayers, support, and encouragement, which served as the blueprint along my journey. My mother, Julia PittCort, asked, “Why stop now?” when I obtained my master’s degree. My father, Martin L. Cort, always encouraged me to try my best. Dad, I hope I have done you proud. My departed brother, Percival M. Cort, was a genius who understood so much so quickly. I wish he had been here to witness the end of my own academic journey. I also dedicate this dissertation to all of my formal and informal mentors who influenced and inspired me to dream and believe that I can achieve whatever I desired.
Acknowledgements: 
None of this would be possible without the guidance, grace, and mercy of my Lord and Savior. I appreciate all of the love and support from my family and friends. I would like to acknowledge a number of individuals for their assistance. My highest praise to my chair, Dr. Macharia Waruingi, MD, DHA, who provided exemplary guidance and support needed to navigate the maze of the doctoral journey. He went above and beyond to pen letters of support when needed and otherwise facilitated every step of the process. A sincere thank you to Dr. George Graham for his patience and support as I went through my own ups and downs. A special thank you to Dr. Gaynel Olsen for being available to join my team in the ninth inning. I am grateful for her quick review and feedback. I must also acknowledge Dr. Louise Underdahl. Dr. Underdahl, thank you for always answering my phone calls and offering support and solutions. A special appreciation to Dr. Francine Nelson and Dr. Diane Gavin for allowing me to be a part of the initial pilot program. I owe a debt of gratitude to the management of Breakthrough Recovery Outreach for allowing me to use the facility to obtain data for my study. Finally, my nephew, Dexter Cort, who was very supportive and ensured that I received all of my books and other reading materials prior to the start of class.