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Dobscha SK, Corson K, Solodky J, Gerrity MS. Use of videoconferencing for depression research: enrollment, retention, and patient satisfaction. Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association. 2005 Feb 1; 11(1):84-9.
The goal of this study was to describe the effects of using videoconferencing on participant enrollment, research measure administration and responses, study retention, and satisfaction. We recruited 400 patients from the Portland Veterans Affairs Primary Care Clinics for a randomized clinical trial of a care management intervention for depression. Patients recruited from distant clinic sites had the option of traveling to Portland, Oregon, for initial interviews or being interviewed using videoconferencing. Interviews included obtaining informed consent and administration of research measures. Remote participants were subsequently asked to complete a 12-item mail survey regarding the interview. There were no significant problems with the process of interviewing and obtaining informed consent by videoconferencing, as reported by patients and clinic staff. Twenty of the 31 participants interviewed by videoconferencing returned the satisfaction questionnaire. Participants indicated a high degree of satisfaction with these interviews, and expressed willingness to recommend videoconferencing to others. No differences were observed between the Patient Health Questionnaire depression scores of videoconferencing and in-person participants, and there was no significant difference in the 6-month rate of loss to follow-up in the randomized trial. Videoconferencing allows patients in rural and remote locations to participate in psychiatric research and expands sources of recruitment for research projects.