Background: Given the rapid deployment of telemedicine at the onset of the COVID - 19 pandemic, updated assessment methods are needed to study and characterize telemedicine programs. We developed a novel semi - structured survey instrument to systematically describe the characteristics and implementation processes of telemedicine programs in primary care. Methods: In the context of a larger study aiming to describe telemedicine programs in primary care, a survey was developed in 3 iterative steps: 1) literature review to obtain a list of telemedicine features, facilitators, and barriers; 2) application of three evaluation frameworks; and 3) stakeholder engagement through a 2-stage feedback process. During survey refinement, items were tested against the evaluation frameworks while ensuring it could be completed within 20–25 min. Data reduction techniques were applied to explore opportunity for condensed variables/items. Results: Sixty initially identified telemedicine features were reduced to 32 items / questions after stakeholder feedback. Per the life cycle framework, respondents are asked to report a month in which their telemedicine program reached a steady state, i.e., “maturation”. Subsequent questions on telemedicine features are then stratified by telemedicine services offered at the pandemic onset and the reported point of maturation. Several open - ended questions allow for additional telemedicine experiences to be captured. Data reduction techniques revealed no indication for data reduction. Conclusion: This 32-item semi-structured survey standardizes the description of primary care telemedicine programs in terms of features as well as maturation process. This tool will facilitate evaluation of and comparisons between telemedicine programs across the United States, particularly those that were deployed at the pandemic onset.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1274
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • COVID - 19 pandemic
  • Primary care
  • Survey development
  • Telemedicine


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