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  1. Cotie, Lisa M. PhD, RKin
  2. Ghisi, Gabriela L. M. PhD, PT
  3. Vanzella, Lais M. PhD, PT
  4. Aultman, Crystal MSc, RKin
  5. Oh, Paul MD, MSc, FRCP, FACP
  6. Colella, Tracey J. F. PhD, RN, APN


Purpose: This study explored the perceived barriers and facilitators to participation in patients who did and did not attend virtual cardiac rehabilitation (CR) education sessions.


Methods: A mixed-methods approach was used. Virtual patient education was delivered during the coronavirus-19 pandemic. Phase 1 included a cross-sectional online survey completed by individuals who did and did not participate in these sessions. For phase 2, six virtual focus group sessions were conducted using the social-ecological framework to guide thematic analysis and interpretation of findings.


Results: Overall, 106 online surveys were completed; 60 (57%) attended Cardiac College Learn Online (CCLO) sessions only, one (1%) Women with Heart Online (WwHO) only, 21 (20%) attended both, and 24 (22%) did not attend virtual sessions. Half of the participants who attended virtual sessions viewed between one and four sessions. Most participants were from Canada (95%) and included the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute/Toronto Western Hospital centers (76%). Focus group findings revealed six overarching themes: Intrapersonal (mixed emotions/feelings; personal learning preferences); Interpersonal (desire for warmth of human contact and interaction); Institutional (the importance of external endorsement of sessions); and Environmental (technology; perceived facilitators and barriers).


Conclusion: These findings highlight the unprecedented situation that patients and CR programs are facing during the pandemic. Virtual patient education may be more accessible, convenient, and responsive to the complex needs of these CR participants.