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Assessment of practitioner needs for providing virtual maternity care

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Healthcare Delivery & Policy

This study will use focus groups and interviews to understand the technological interface preferences of rural care providers accessing specialist support for obstetrical care.
 
The purpose of this primary research is to augment the findings from a provincial survey on care providers' desired attributes for a virtual care platform (telehealth) with focus groups and individual interviews to better understand the rationale for preferences.
 
 The challenge of providing sustainable access to intrapartum care for rural communities in British Columbia and across Canada has been well documented and described alongside maternal newborn outcomes, psycho-social and cultural outcomes have been described. These challenges have been amplified in the recent context of COVID-19, which has precipitated a rapid shift to virtual care for many health care providers.
 
 A variety of provincial projects and exemplars enhanced by the Virtual Care Strategy are directing the development of virtual health services to support rural providers. The uptake of technology has also been accelerated due to COVID-19. Although immediate solutions are necessary for provider and patient safety, we also need a provider-informed strategic plan for post-COVID-19 virtual maternity care in rural communities.
 
 We will be engaging rural and remote maternity care providers (registered midwife, family doctor, nurse practitioner, or obstetrician) to participate in focus groups or individual interviews. Questions will be focused on desired virtual care supports, how virtual care could be used in maternity practice and barriers, enablers and benefits of virtual care.