A pointer for connected health designers. An Australian study reviewing telemedicine virtual consults examined the technical factors that may influence clinical acceptance. It compared the quality of cellular (3G) connectivity with broadband fiber-based service during virtual visits. While overall clinicians rated the telemedicine visits highly–equivalent to or better than a home visit 76 percent of the time and conducting a video consult compared with a home visit as equivalent or better 90.3 percent of the time–the lower audio/video quality of the visits over a 3G data connection versus broadband was apparent, enough that ‘statistically significant associations were found between audio/video quality and patient comfort with the technology as well as the clinician ratings for effectiveness.’ The high failure rate of 3G was also dramatic–23.5 percent of visits calls dropped.
The study was conducted at south Australia’s Flinders Telehealth in the Home with palliative care patients living in the community and home-based rehabilitation services for the elderly. The researchers were from the faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. Journal of Medical Internet Research, July-Sept 2015