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J Telemed Telecare. 2004;10 Suppl 1:41-4.

Successes and challenges in a field-based, multi-method study of home telehealth.

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  • 1Health Telematics Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


We are conducting a three-year study of telehealth in 11 home care offices that serve rural clients in Alberta. Three hundred and twenty palliative home care clients are being recruited to participate in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to answer three questions about the use of video-phones and their effect on symptom management, quality of life and cost, as well as readiness to use the technology. Both successes and challenges have been identified in three main areas: technology, people/organizational issues and study design. Maintaining study integrity has been the key factor in decision making, as adjustments from the original proposal are made. It is already clear that field-based RCTs are feasible, but require commitment and flexibility on the part of researchers and community partners to work through the study implementation.

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