Medication misuse results in considerable problems for both patient and society. It is a complex problem with many contributing factors, including timely access to product information.
To investigate the value of 3-dimensional (3D) visualization paired with video conferencing as a tool for pharmaceutical advice over distance in terms of accessibility and ease of use for the advice seeker.
We created a Web-based communication service called AssistancePlus that allows an advisor to demonstrate the physical handling of a complex pharmaceutical product to an advice seeker with the aid of 3D visualization and audio/video conferencing. AssistancePlus was tested in 2 separate user studies performed in a usability lab, under realistic settings and emulating a real usage situation. In the first study, 10 pharmacy students were assisted by 2 advisors from the Swedish National Co-operation of Pharmacies' call centre on the use of an asthma inhaler. The student-advisor interview sessions were filmed on video to qualitatively explore their experience of giving and receiving advice with the aid of 3D visualization. In the second study, 3 advisors from the same call centre instructed 23 participants recruited from the general public on the use of 2 products: (1) an insulin injection pen, and (2) a growth hormone injection syringe. First, participants received advice on one product in an audio-recorded telephone call and for the other product in a video-recorded AssistancePlus session (product order balanced). In conjunction with the AssistancePlus session, participants answered a questionnaire regarding accessibility, perceived expressiveness, and general usefulness of 3D visualization for advice-giving over distance compared with the telephone and were given a short interview focusing on their experience of the 3D features.
In both studies, participants found the AssistancePlus service helpful in providing clear and exact instructions. In the second study, directly comparing AssistancePlus and the telephone, AssistancePlus was judged positively for ease of communication (P = .001), personal contact (P = .001), explanatory power (P
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Telepsychiatry differs from in-person treatment in terms of its delivery mechanism, and this dissimilarity may increase cultural differences between the provider and the patient. Because cultural competence and identification can impact patient satisfaction ratings, we wanted to explore whether cultural differences in our study population influenced telepsychiatric and in-person interviews. Here, we compared the acceptability of conducting psychiatric assessments with rural American Indian veterans by real-time videoconferencing versus inperson administration. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IIIR (SCID) was given to participants both in person and by telehealth. A process measure was created to assess participants' responses to the interview type concerning the usability of the technology, the perceptions of the interviewee/interviewer interaction, the cultural competence of the interview, and satisfaction with the interview and the interview process. The process measure was administered to 53 American Indian Vietnam veterans both in-person and by real-time interactive videoconferencing. Mean responses were compared for each participant. Interviewers were also asked several of the same questions as the participants; answers were compared to the corresponding participant responses. Overall, telepsychiatry was well received and comparable in level of patient comfort, satisfaction, and cultural acceptance to in-person interviews. We also found evidence to suggest that interviewers sometimes interpreted participant satisfaction as significantly less favorable than the participants actually responded. Despite the potential of videoconferencing to increase cultural differences, we found that it is an acceptable means for psychiatric assessment of American Indian veterans and presents an opportunity to provide mental health services to a population that might otherwise not have access.
A trend toward the reduction in the length of hospital stays has been widely observed. This increasing shift is particularly evident in perinatal care. A stay of less than 48 hours after delivery has been shown to have no negative effects on the health of either the mother or the baby as long as they receive an adequate follow-up. This implies a close integration between hospital and community health services. The present article addresses the following questions: To what extent are postnatal services accessible to mothers and neonates? Are postnatal services in the community in continuity with those of the hospital? Are the services provided by the appropriate source of care? The authors conducted a telephone survey among 1158 mothers in a large urban area in the province of Quebec, Canada. The results were compared to clinical guidelines widely recognised by professionals. The results show serious discrepancies with these guidelines. The authors found a low accessibility to services: less than half of the mothers received a home visit by a nurse. In terms of continuity of care, less than 10% of the mothers received a follow-up telephone call within the recommended time frame and only 18% benefited from a home visit within the recommended period. Finally, despite guidelines to the contrary, hospitals continue to intervene after discharge. This results in a duplication of services for 44.7% of the new-borns. On the other hand, 40.7% are not seen in the recommended period after hospital discharge at all. These results raise concerns about the integration of services between agencies. Following earlier work, the present authors have grouped explanatory factors under four dimensions: the strategic dimension, particularly leadership; the structural dimension, including the size of the network; the technological dimension, with respect to information transmission system; and the cultural dimension, which concerns the collaboration process and the development of relationships based on trust.
The reproducibility and accuracy of routine echocardiographic measurements made by an inexperienced doctor using tele-instruction were evaluated. Thirty-eight patients were first examined at a local hospital by an inexperienced doctor instructed by a specialist 450 km away at a university hospital. The specialist then examined the patients at the local hospital using the same equipment, after an average of 50 days. The accuracy of M-mode and quantitative Doppler measurements was comparable to that observed in reproducibility studies made under normal examination conditions. There were no systematic measurement errors. No important M-mode information was missed except evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy in six patients. In the two-dimensional examination there were differences of clinical significance in only three patients. There were no clinically important differences in the Doppler quantification of mitral and aortic regurgitation. Tele-instructed echocardiography is also an excellent educational tool, allowing an inexperienced examiner gradually to take responsibility for the local echocardiographic service.
Telemedicine was introduced for weekly tumour case conferences between Sahlgrenska University Hospital and two district hospitals in Sweden. The accuracy of tele-oncology was determined using simulated telemedicine consultations, in which all the material relating to each case was presented but without the patient in person. The people attending the conference were asked to determine the tumour ('TNM') classification and treatment. The patient was then presented in person, to give the audience the opportunity to ask questions and perform a physical examination. Then a new discussion regarding the tumour classification and the treatment plan took place, and the consensus was recorded. Of the 98 consecutive patients studied in this way, 80 could be evaluated by both techniques. Of these 80, 73 (91%) had the same classification and treatment plan in the telemedicine simulation as in the subsequent face-to-face consultation. In four cases the TNM classification was changed and for three patients the treatment plan was altered. The specialists also had to state their degree of confidence in the tele-oncology decisions. When they recorded uncertainty about their decision, it was generally because they wanted to palpate the tumour. In five of the seven patients with a different outcome, the clinical evaluation was stated to be dubious or not possible. The results show that telemedicine can be used safely for the management of head and neck cancers.