Telerehabilitation (TR) aimed at patients with COPD has shown promising effects on symptoms, physical function, and quality of life, but little research has been conducted to understand the impact of implementation on frontline health professionals. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the barriers and enablers of health professionals to online exercise-based TR in patients with COPD, to support a successful implementation process.
Semistructured individual and focus group interviews were conducted with 25 health professionals working with conventional COPD rehabilitation or TR. Interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Investigator triangulation was applied during data generation. The Theoretical Domains Framework directed the interview guide and was used as a coding framework in the analysis.
We identified six predominant domains essential in understanding the enablers and barriers of TR from a staff perspective: 1) skills, 2) professional role and identity, 3) beliefs about capabilities, 4) beliefs about consequences, 5) environmental context and resources, and 6) social influences. We found that health professionals held both enablers and barriers important for the implementation process of TR. TR introduces new work tasks and new ways for the health professionals to communicate and exercise with the patients, which influence their professional role and self-perceived capability.