ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to demonstrate that telehomecare linking homebound patients with their home health-care nurses over the plain old telephone system (POTS) provides high-quality, clinically useful, and patient satisfactory interactions. Congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic wound-care patients receiving skilled home nursing care were randomized into control (standard home health care, HHC) and two intervention (standard care plus video conferencing/Internet access; the above plus physiological monitoring) groups. Virtual visits (VVs), consisting of two-way audio and video interactions between the central site HHC nurse and the subject at home, were compared for technical quality and clinical usefulness by the HHC nurses who performed the VVs. Subject perception of telehomecare and satisfaction with their HHC were assessed over the course of the project. There were a total of 567 virtual and 1,057 actual visits conducted for the 53 subjects completing the study. The technical quality of VVs were rated at 94.7%. They were considered to be as useful as actual visits in 90.7% of cases. Subject telehomecare perception increased after experiencing the process. All subjects were satisfied with their HHC; satisfaction increased with an increasing level of telehomecare intervention. Subjects receiving physiological monitoring and video conferencing/Internet access in addition to standard care were most satisfied with their care. VVs can be conducted over POTS. Patients can use telehomecare with moderate levels of training. These programs can provide timely and quality home health nursing care with VVs augmenting traditional home visits.
Telemedicine and e-Health 02/2004; 10(2):122-8. · 1.42 Impact Factor