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Validation of home telehealth for pressure ulcer assessment: a study in patients with spinal cord injury.

Hill ML, Cronkite RC, Ota DT, Yao EC, Kiratli BJ. Validation of home telehealth for pressure ulcer assessment: a study in patients with spinal cord injury. Journal of telemedicine and telecare. 2009 Jan 1; 15(4):196-202.

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The reliability and validity of assessments and diagnoses made via home telehealth was measured in 42 patients with spinal cord injury. Two telehealth modalities were investigated: telephone-only contact and videoconferencing. The results were compared with a reference (gold-standard) method, the in-person assessment and diagnosis of skin integrity and pressure ulcers. The agreement on the presence of a pressure ulcer was excellent for both telephone and videoconferencing approaches (92% for telephone, 97% for videoconferencing). The diagnoses of the stage of pressure ulcer (on an ordinal scale of 0-4) made via telephone and videoconferencing showed substantial to almost perfect agreement with the in-person diagnoses (Spearman''s rho of 0.76 and 0.83, respectively). There was a tendency for the measurements of wound volume to be somewhat larger in the telephone and videoconferencing modalities compared to those made in-person. Bland-Altman plots showed that videoconferencing gave substantially narrower 95% limits of agreement. The findings of the study indicate that telephone contact can be a useful tool for identifying the presence of a pressure ulcer, but videoconferencing is required to obtain an evaluation reasonably close to that of a home visit.

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