Tele-home-care using PEXIP videoconference technology for babies and children with CHD during COVID-19 Pandemic

Marlene Sinclair, Casey Frank, Julie Mc Cullough, Jonathan Gillender, Brian McCrossan, Rosie Browne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Title
Tele-home-care using PEXIP videoconference technology to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in newborns and children with congenital heart disease.

Funded by
Ulster University and The Children’s Heartbeat Trust

Background: Prior to COVID-19, the use and availability of videoconference consultations was limited. However, since the outbreak of Coronavirus the General Medical Council have recommended doctors ‘triage and treat patients by remote consultations where possible’. Approximately 200 babies are born with congenital heart disease in Northern Ireland every year and about 120 of these will require surgery. The Paediatric Cardiology Department at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children provides a regional service. Critical to that service is outpatient review, which has been facilitated by videoconferencing since 2003. To reduce exposing new-borns and children to the risk of hospital acquired COVID-19 infection, the Paediatric Cardiology team have decided to expand capacity, offering remote consultations using newer videoconferencing modalities. However, it was deemed necessary to engage in research to test the acceptability and usability of the new PEXIP software for home monitoring of babies and children with CHD.
Method: A quasi-experimental design was chosen, and the project was fast-tracked through IRAS. The PEXIP videoconference technology was tested by the experienced RBHSC team. Cambridge South Ethics Committee granted ethical approval in September and the BHSCT issued research governance in October. Data collection is in progress.
Discussion: Five months were required to design the study, seek PPI input, acquire ethical approval and research governance, gain suitable funding and engage all key stakeholders. COVID-19 prompted additional precautions, e.g., printing participant information packs and use of WhatsApp for visual contact with parents prior to recruitment. COVID-19 affected researcher actions at every one of the 10 steps in the research process and this paper will provide insights.
Implications: Research outcomes may lead to further applications of the system to include joint cardiology/obstetric consultations for mothers with severe heart conditions and babies diagnosed antenatally with congenital heart conditions.
Keywords: COVID-19; telemedicine; videoconference consultations; congenital heart disease; newborns; paediatric cardiology
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoyal College of Surgeons in Ireland 40th Annual International Nursing & Midwifery Research and Education Conference
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021

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