Retrospective investigation of telehealth monitor usage: Usability of the Health Buddy
Health Buddy ® , a telemedicine device that patients use at home to monitor their health status, is of increasing interest to home health care provider. Although several studies have administrated qualitative approaches (such as interview or questionnaire) to evaluate the usefulness and effectiveness of telemedicine devices according to patients' feedback, few studies have focused on the quantitative evaluation of the system usage and human errors based on daily logs of patients and notes taken by nurses in home care center. To address this important question in research and practice, patients' usages of Health Buddy ® , including changes of weight and weight variances, blood pressure changes and variances, etc., were gathered from Catholic Homecare System. Analyses were performed to reveal possible relationships to independent variables such as patients' age brackets, gender and duration of care in the program. Some positive results showed that about 50% patients significantly decreased their variance of weight, which is considered as an important clinical measure, and some patients decreased their weight. On the other hand, other measures did not indicate significant changes, some partly due to insufficient sample size (e.g., blood sugar). For human errors in using the telemedicine device Health Buddy ® , omission was identified as the most errors. Although this investigation is limited by its data size, the current findings still offer some insight on the benefits of telemedicine and can help provide guidelines to improve the design of the device.