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Using telemedicine in the care of newborn infants after discharge from a neonatal intensive care unit reduced the need of hospital visits

Journal article
Authors C. Robinson
Anna Gund
Bengt Arne Sjöqvist
Kristina Bry
Published in Acta Paediatrica
Volume 105
Issue 8
Pages 902-909
ISSN 0803-5253
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Pediatrics
Pages 902-909
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1111/apa.13407
https://gup.ub.gu.se/file/201252
Keywords Home health care, Newborn, Preterm infant, Telemedicine
Subject categories Pediatrics

Abstract

Aim: This study examined the use of telemedicine as a means to follow up infants discharged from a Swedish neonatal intensive care unit to home health care. Methods: Families were randomised to either a control group receiving standard home health care (n = 42 families) or a telemedicine group receiving home health care with telemedicine support (n = 47 families) after discharge from the hospital. Both groups had follow-up hospital appointments with the neonatal nurse. In the telemedicine group, appointments were supplemented by the use of a specially designed web page and video calls. Results: The use of the web page and video calls decreased the number of emergency visits to the hospital (p = 0.047). In the telemedicine group, 26% of the families felt they had more scheduled appointments than necessary, whereas only 6% of the families in the control group thought so (p = 0.037). The parents were highly satisfied with the use of telemedicine. Although the nurses were favourable to using telemedicine, the rigid organisation of the home healthcare programme and the nurses' schedules and work routines prevented its optimal use. Conclusion: The use of telemedicine decreased the need of hospital visits. Organisational adaptations would be necessary to make the best use of telemedicine.

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