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Abstract

The study investigated the perceived effect of telemedicine on medical service delivery by the Federal Medical Centers in North Central Nigeria. Six objectives guided the study. The study answered six research questions and tested two null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The study adopted survey research design. The research was conducted in the North Central Zone of Nigeria. The population of the study was one thousand four hundred and seven (1407) medical staff (Doctors, Nurses, Laboratory Technologists and Pharmacists). The sample size was three hundred and eleven (311) respondents comprising 97 doctors, 178 nurses, 19 laboratory technologists and 17 pharmacists; this was determined using Taro Yamane formula. The instrument used for data collection was a structured questionnaire titled: Perceived Effect of Telemedicine Questionnaire (PETQ) developed by the researcher from literature reviewed. Three experts validated the instrument while split-half method was used to determine the internal consistency of the items and a reliability co-efficient of 0.76 was obtained, indicating that the instrument is reliable for the study. The instrument was administered by the researcher and four research assistants. Descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions while inferential statistics of Chi-square was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The findings revealed that nine (9) Telemedicine services are available to a high extent in the Federal Medical Centers in North Central Nigeria. The findings also revealed that Telemedicine exerts twelve (12) effects on medical service delivery, fourteen (14) challenges were discovered to be associated with the use of telemedicine, while eight (8) strategies were identified to mitigate the challenges of the use of telemedicine. It was also found that availability of telemedicine significantly affects medical service delivery in Federal Medical Centers in North Central Nigeria. Further analysis of data revealed that the degree of application of telemedicine exert significant effect on medical service delivery in Federal Medical Centers in North Central Nigeria. It was recommended that Federal Medical Centers should embark on drastic development of telemedicine in line with global trend in order to promote effective utilization of telemedicine services, stake holders should establish a basic understanding of what this medical technology can lead to as it will help policy makers enlighten the telemedicine debate by turning unique insights into more adequate approaches that will enrich and humanize mediated channels of health communication, thereby offering remedies and clarifications for effective health care exchange and delivery.

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