Identifying Public Healthcare Priorities in Virtual Care for Older Adults: A Participatory Research Study

Dai Pu, Victoria Palmer, Louise Greenstock, Cathie Pigott, Anna Peeters, Lena Sanci, Michele Callisaya, Colette Browning, Wendy Chapman, Terry Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


There has been increasing adoption and implementation of virtual healthcare in recent years, especially with COVID-19 impacting the world. As a result, virtual care initiatives may not undergo stringent quality control processes to ensure that they are appropriate to their context and meet sector needs. The two objectives of this study were to identify virtual care initiatives for older adults currently in use in Victoria and virtual care challenges that could be prioritised for further investigation and scale-up and to understand why certain virtual care initiatives and challenges are prioritised over others for investigation and scale-up. Methods: This project used an Emerging Design approach. A survey of public health services in the state of Victoria in Australia was first carried out, followed by the co-production of research and healthcare priorities with key stakeholders in the areas of primary care, hospital care, consumer representation, research, and government. The survey was used to gather existing virtual care initiatives for older adults and any associated challenges. Co-production processes consisted of individual ratings of initiatives and group-based discussions to identify priority virtual care initiatives and challenges to be addressed for future scale-up. Stakeholders nominated their top three virtual initiatives following discussions. Results: Telehealth was nominated as the highest priority initiative type for scaling up, with virtual emergency department models of care nominated as the highest priority within this category. Remote monitoring was voted as a top priority for further investigations. The top virtual care challenge was data sharing across services and settings, and the user-friendliness of virtual care platforms was nominated as the top priority for further investigation. Conclusions: Stakeholders prioritised public health virtual care initiatives that are easy to adopt and address needs that are perceived to be more immediate (acute more so than chronic care). Virtual care initiatives that incorporate more technology and integrated elements are valued, but more information is needed to inform their potential scale-up.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4015
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • aged
  • community-based participatory research
  • COVID-19
  • healthcare quality assurance
  • public health
  • scaling up
  • shared decision making
  • stakeholder engagement
  • telemedicine

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