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Title Interactive Communication in High-Technology Home Care: Videophones for Pediatric Ventilatory Care
Author(s) Katsuyuki Miyasaka, Yasuyuki Suzuki, Hirokazu Sakai, and Yoichi Kondo
Source Pediatrics, Vol. 99, No. 1
Publication Date January, 1997
Abstract Electronic article, not in printed edition, full text available on-line at: http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/99/1/e1

Objective. To develop and to assess the clinical impact of a near-television quality home digital videophone system (Integrated Services Digital Network [ISDN] 64, 320 200 resolutions, 10 to 12 frames per second), which would provide respiratory care specialists' resources to primary care physicians and their pediatric patients receiving home respiratory care.

Method. A prospective study comparing the preceding 6 months and following 6 months of implementation of a videophone system on seven pediatric home respiratory care patients (group I) and a prospective analytical study of three patients (group II) being introduced to home ventilatory care were carried out. Clinical effectiveness and time-saving benefits were studied.

Results. There were large reductions in the number of house calls by the physicians (from 5 to 0), unscheduled hospital visits by patients (from 24 to 5), and hospital admission days (from 22 to 10), with a fivefold increase in phone calls (from 11 to 58) in group I. This reduced the net number of hours spent by both patients and physicians in unscheduled medical care by 95 hours for the patients and 51.2 hours for the physicians. A total of 45 videophone calls, of which 27 were related to mechanical concerns and 18 to medical concerns, were made in group II. There were 7 mechanical and 10 medical problems of clinical significance, but all were directly handled by physicians by videophone. The majority (35 of 45) of videophone calls were made in the first 3-month period, indicating a decrease in nonspecific concerns after this period. The specifications of the system we used were found acceptable by both patients and health care professionals. The system seemed to be useful in effectively using the time of specialists and in relieving the anxieties of families. No deleterious effects were noted. The current initial cost is substantial but rapidly falling. The running cost is similar to a regular telephone bill when one ISDN 64 line is used.

Conclusions. The videophone system using ISDN 64 can now be considered a practical and effective tool to recruit specialist resources into home care and to improve the quality of pediatric home ventilatory care. This study encourages the use of videophones to help establish designated home care support systems that may extend beyond national borders and time zones. home care, videophone, telemedicine, Integrated Services Digital Network.

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