The French General Population’s Perception of New Information and Communication Technologies for Medical Consultations: National Survey
Rajae Touzani, Elodie Dembele, Emilien Schultz, Alexandra Rouquette, Lorène Seguin, Jean-Charles Dufour, Marie Bannier, Julien Mancini
Publications – Article/chapter
Rajae Touzani, Elodie Dembele, Emilien Schultz, Alexandra Rouquette, Lorène Seguin, et al.. The French General Population’s Perception of New Information and Communication Technologies for Medical Consultations: National Survey. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2023, 25, pp.e45822. https://inserm.hal.science/inserm-04302132 ⤤
Background: The development of telehealth and telemedicine, in the form of increased teleconsultation and medical telemonitoring, accelerated during the COVID-19 health crisis in France to ensure continued access to care for the population. Since these new information and communication technologies (ICTs) are diverse and likely to transform how the health care system is organized, there is a need better to understand public attitudes toward them and their relationship with peoples' current experience of health care. Objective: This study aimed to determine the French general population's perception of the usefulness of video recording/broadcasting (VRB) and mobile Health (mHealth) apps for medical consultations in France during the COVID-19 health crisis and the factors associated with this perception. Methods: Data were collected for 2003 people in 2 waves of an online survey alongside the Health Literacy Survey 2019 (1003 in May 2020 and 1000 in January 2021) based on quota sampling. The survey collected sociodemographic characteristics, health literacy levels, trust in political representatives, and perceived health status. The perceived usefulness of VRB in medical consultations was measured by combining 2 responses concerning this technology for consultations. The perceived usefulness of mHealth apps was measured by combining 2 responses concerning their usefulness for booking doctor appointments and for communicating patient-reported outcomes to doctors. Results: The majority (1239/2003, 62%) of respondents considered the use of mHealth apps useful, while only 27.6% (551/2003) declared VRB useful. The factors associated with the perceived usefulness of both technologies were younger age (≤ 55 years), trust in political representatives (VRB: adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.68, 95% CI 1.31-2.17; mHealth apps: aOR 1.88, 95% CI 1.42-2.48), and higher (sufficient and excellent) health literacy. The period of the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, living in an urban area, and being limited in daily activities were also associated with perceiving VRB positively. The perceived usefulness of mHealth apps increased with the level of education. It was also higher in people who had 3 or more consultations with a medical specialist. Conclusions: There are important differences in attitudes toward new ICTs. Perceived usefulness was lower for VRB than for mHealth apps. Moreover, it decreased after the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also the possibility of new inequalities. Hence, despite the potential benefits of VRB and mHealth apps, people with low health literacy considered them to be of little use for their health care, possibly increasing their difficulties in accessing health care in the future. As such, health care providers and policy makers need to consider those perceptions to guarantee that new ICTs are accessible and beneficial to all.