Telehealth: Measurement for Best Outcomes in Support of Rural Residents


  • Jillian R. Williamson Yarbrough, PhD Texas A&M University



Purpose: Recent challenges like the global COVID-19 pandemic have led to innovations in health care practices. Specifically, advancements in remote, contactless telemedicine. For the rural residents, telemedicine is increasing access to specialists, generalists, mental health providers and unique therapies. With rapid growth, healthcare providers must move swiftly to prepare their organizations to implement telemedicine in an ethical and efficient manner. The purpose of the following study is to examine how healthcare professionals can apply and measure rural telemedicine to specifically support rural patients. Understanding how to measure telemedicine effectiveness is particularly important for rural health care nurses and doctors as they balance innovative technology and quality of care.

Sample: After IRB approval, 31 participants were identified from two sections of a graduate management of business administration course within the healthcare management specialization. All participants were admitted graduate students in the HC management specialization.

Method: The study utilizes inductive thematic analysis to investigate the sample of survey results describing telehealth in rural areas. The participants completed an anonymous online survey specifically addressing telehealth care in rural locations as related to opportunities and measurements. Through inductive thematic analysis, the researchers identify numerous cross-referenced themes from the data.

Findings: Participants identified access to healthcare as the greatest gap that telehealth can fill for rural residents. Additionally, participants identified patient surveys as the best way to measure tele-patient experience and satisfaction.

Conclusion: The following study identifies the greatest gap that can be filled by telehealth in rural areas as access to care. The study also identifies the best measurement for telehealth effectiveness for rural residents as patient surveys. This study aims to bring about awareness of rural telehealth opportunities through ongoing discussion directly with current and future healthcare providers.

Key Words: telehealth, telemedicine, rural, healthcare workers

This research received no funding or specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


Author Biography

  • Jillian R. Williamson Yarbrough, PhD, Texas A&M University

    Clinical Assistant & Virginia Engler Professor of Business Management