Background Blended care, the integration of online and face-to-face care, promises to combine the best of two worlds.
Objectives To explore the attitudes and needs concerning blended care of two key stakeholders: health professionals and patients.
Methods Rheumatologists (8) and specialized nurses (5) were recruited in a Dutch hospital and patients with an inflammatory rheumatic disease (10) were recruited via flyers in hospitals and patient organizations in Germany. A semi-structured interview scheme was used to explore knowledge, experiences, needs and perceived (dis)advantages of a blended care format for fatigue self-management. Transcribed verbal data were coded with hierarchical coding schemes.
Results Perspective of professionals: Blended care matches needs for psychosocial interventions in medical settings, has a patient-friendly and flexible format, reflects the active role of patients and can easily be imbedded in standard care. Reported barriers were low education and skills in technology use in patients, the lack of proven and safe interventions and costs for development/ implementation.
Patient perspective: Patients expected better communication, time saving and improvement of autonomy in self-management. They were concerned about loss of personal contact and in general, patients were very critical regarding online activities, privacy risks and guaranteed quality of eHealth products.
Conclusions Health professionals and patients differ in their attitudes towards blended care. Professionals are better informed and have a more positive attitude, whereas patients' attitudes towards blended care are mainly driven by their reservations towards the reliability and safety of the internet in general. Results will be discussed on the background of attitudes towards eHealth in different countries.
Disclosure of Interest None declared