Trust in telemedicine portals for rehabilitation care: an exploratory focus group study with patients and healthcare professionals

Lex van Velsen*, Sabine Wildevuur, Ina Flierman, Boris van Schooten, Monique Tabak, Hermie Hermens

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)
    144 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: For many eServices, end-user trust is a crucial prerequisite for use. Within the context of Telemedicine, the role of trust has hardly ever been studied. In this study, we explored what determines trust in portals that facilitate rehabilitation therapy, both from the perspective of the patient and the healthcare professional. Methods: We held two focus groups with patients (total n = 15) and two with healthcare professionals (total n = 13) in which we discussed when trust matters, what makes up trust in a rehabilitation portal, what effect specific design cues have, and how much the participants trust the use of activity sensor data for informing treatment. Results: Trust in a rehabilitation portal is the sum of trust in different factors. These factors and what makes up these factors differ for patients and healthcare professionals. For example, trust in technology is made up, for patients, mostly by a perceived level of control and privacy, while for healthcare professionals, a larger and different set of issues play a role, including technical reliability and a transparent data storage policy. Healthcare professionals distrust activity sensor data for informing patient treatment, as they think that sensors are unable to record the whole range of movements that patients make (e.g., walking and ironing clothes). Conclusions: The set of factors that affect trust in a rehabilitation portal are different from the sets that have been found for other contexts, like eCommerce. Trust in telemedicine technology should be studied as a separate subject to inform the design of reliable interventions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number11
    Number of pages12
    JournalBMC medical informatics and decision making
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Portals
    • Trust
    • Rehabilitation care
    • Activity sensors
    • Design
    • Telemedicine


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