We originally developed a home support service for babies with complex congenital heart disease, in which videoconferencing was delivered via three ISDN lines. We have now investigated the feasibility of using broadband (Internet protocol) transmission instead of ISDN lines. Five patients were enrolled (age range 14-58 days) and 78 videoconferences were conducted over a six-month period. In 70 videoconferences (90%), a successful connection was established at the first attempt. In the last 56 videoconferences a connection bandwidth of 256 kbit/s was consistently achieved. The clinician's opinions of the videoconferences were good. Parental opinions on the videoconferences were very high. There was also a significant reduction in parental anxiety following the video consultations: the median reduction in the STAI score was 6 points (P<0.05) (n = 78). Home support for infants or children with complex congenital heart disease can be provided successfully by video consultations utilizing home broadband links.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to Questmark Ltd for financial support.