Protocol for a qualitative study to explore acceptability, barriers and facilitators of the implementation of new teleophthalmology technologies between community optometry practices and hospital eye services

Ann Blandford, Sarah Abdi, A Aristidou, Josie Carmichael, G Cappellaro, R Hussain, K Balaskas
in BMJ Open, Journal article


Novel teleophthalmology technologies have the potential to reduce unnecessary and inaccurate referrals between community optometry practices and hospital eye services and as a result improve patients' access to appropriate and timely eye care. However, little is known about the acceptability and facilitators and barriers to the implementations of these technologies in real life.

A theoretically informed, qualitative study will explore patients' and healthcare professionals' perspectives on teleophthalmology and Artificial Intelligence Decision Support System models of care. A combination of situated observations in community optometry practices and hospital eye services, semistructured qualitative interviews with patients and healthcare professionals and self-audiorecordings of healthcare professionals will be conducted. Participants will be purposively selected from 4 to 5 hospital eye services and 6-8 affiliated community optometry practices. The aim will be to recruit 30-36 patients and 30 healthcare professionals from hospital eye services and community optometry practices. All interviews will be audiorecorded, with participants' permission, and transcribed verbatim. Data from interviews, observations and self-audiorecordings will be analysed thematically and will be informed by normalisation process theory and an inductive approach.

Ethical approval has been received from London-Bromley research ethics committee. Findings will be reported through academic journals and conferences in ophthalmology, health services research, management studies and human-computer interaction.