Defining Telepresence as Experienced in Telehealth Encounters: A Dimensional Analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Telehealth’s uptake has increased substantially in recent years, with an especially large jump in 2020 due to the emergence of COVID-19. This article provides background on and explores “telepresence” in healthcare literature. Telepresence strongly impacts the patient experience, but it is poorly defined in current research. The aim was to conceptually define telepresence using qualitative methods. Design: Dimensional analysis was used to analyze telepresence in clinical literature and create a clearer definition of telepresence as a concept. Multiple databases were searched for articles related to telepresence. Thirteen international articles related to telepresence were selected for analysis. Methods: Dimensional analysis allowed for multiple viewpoints to be explored within each distinct context and perspective. Findings: Twenty-five dimensions were discovered within the articles, which were synthesized to seven core dimensions of telepresence: connection, technological mediation, experienced realism, trust, being supportive, collaboration, and emotional consequence. Conclusions: Telepresence is highly impactful on the patient’s experience of telehealth care visits. The conceptual map produced by this dimensional analysis provides direction for clinicians to improve their ability to be present with patients during telehealth care. Potential implications include a starting point for future qualitative research, and the use of this dimensional analysis to inform clinical guidelines, improve clinician training, and assist in the development of new care models. Clinical Relevance: A telepresence definition brings clarity to an ill-defined concept. COVID-19 magnifies the need for a better understanding of telepresence, which allows clinicians to improve telehealth encounters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-717
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number6
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Concept analysis
  • telehealth
  • telepresence
  • virtual presence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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