A randomised trial of a remote home support programme for infants with major congenital heart disease

Brian Mccrossan, Gareth Morgan, Brian Grant, Andrew J Sands, Brian G Craig, Nicola N Doherty, Ashley M Agus, Graine E Crealey, Frank A Casey

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35 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives To assess the sustainability, clinical utility and acceptability to clinicians and parents of a tele-homecare programme for infants with major congenital heart disease (CHD), and to evaluate the impact on healthcare resource use. Design Randomised control trial. Setting UK tertiary congenital cardiac centre. Participants 83 infants with major CHD. Intervention Participants were randomised to one of three groups: video-conferencing support (n=35), telephone support (n=24) and a control group (n=24). Patients in the two intervention groups received regular, standardised remote consultations. Video-conferences (VCs) were facilitated by Integrated Systems Digital Network lines and replaced by home broadband connections later in the study. Main outcome measures Healthcare resource use, utilisation including hospitalisation, clinicians' opinions on utility and quality of interventions, parental opinions on quality of interventions. Results Clinicians were more confident making medical decisions following VCs compared with telephone consultations (p=0.01). Both VC and telephone support were very well received, but parents expressed significantly higher levels of satisfaction with VC support (p=0.001). Healthcare resource use was 37% lower in the video-conferencing group compared with both telephone support and control groups (p<0.001), as was the risk of hospitalisation (p=0.006). Direct health service costs were significantly lower in the video-conferencing group (p<0.05). Conclusions A tele-medicine home support programme for families of infants with major CHD is feasible, sustainable and effective. Home support with video-conferencing is superior to telephone consultations. Parents are highly satisfied with tele-homecare. Tele-homecare significantly reduces health service utilisation and may reduce health service costs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523-1528
Issue number20
Early online date11 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Oct 2012


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