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Nurse and patient communication via low- and high-bandwidth home telecare systems.

Wakefield BJ, Holman JE, Ray A, Morse J, Kienzle MG. Nurse and patient communication via low- and high-bandwidth home telecare systems. Journal of telemedicine and telecare. 2004 Apr 1; 10(3):156-9.

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We examined nurse-patient communication on two videoconferencing systems: a video-phone (PSTN video) and a PC-based system (IP video). The former used data transmission via a modem at 33.6 kbit/s and the latter via a local-area network at up to 512 kbit/s. Twenty-six nurses and 18 volunteers (simulated patients) participated. On each video system nurse-patient dyads completed scripted interactions; they then completed questionnaires to assess communication. Of the participants, 84% (n = 37) preferred IP video and 14% (n = 6) preferred PSTN video (one expressed no preference). IP video was rated significantly higher in all communication quality areas except self-consciousness/embarrassment. Although participants' overall ratings were higher for the IP video system, two important advantages of the PSTN video system were identified by both nurses and patients: first, it provided superior visualization of the medication bottle, insulin syringe and the patient's skin; and second, it was easier to use. Video quality and audio quality are important determinants of patient and provider perceptions, but ease of use, clinical appropriateness, and the need for training and support must not be forgotten.

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