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J Telemed Telecare. 2005;11 Suppl 1:91-2.

Supporting families of critically ill children at home using videoconferencing.

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  • 1Department of Paediatric Cardiology, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK.


Home videoconferencing links for families of children recently discharged with complex congenital heart disease may be useful in monitoring potentially unstable patients. A randomized controlled trial was carried out comparing home videoconferencing with telephone contact. Patients were randomized to an interventional videoconferencing group (n = 14), or to one of two control groups: the first (n = 9) received the same ad hoc telephone support that was available to all patients; the second group (n = 13) received regular telephone calls with the same protocol as those in the videoconferencing group. The results from the trial are still being analysed. Our experience with commercial cable modem transmission quickly showed that this is an unsuitable modality. Preliminary results with ISDN videoconferencing are encouraging. Initial results and feedback from families strongly suggest that videoconferencing provides significant benefits over telephone follow-up.

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