Home Telehealth Video Conferencing: Perceptions and Performance

Alan Taylor, Gregory Morris, Joanne Pech, Stuart Rechter, Colin Carati, Michael Kidd

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    48 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: The Flinders Telehealth in the Home trial (FTH trial), conducted in South Australia, was an action research initiative to test and evaluate the inclusion of telehealth services and broadband access technologies for palliative care patients living in the community and home-based rehabilitation services for the elderly at home. Telehealth services at home were supported by video conferencing between a therapist, nurse or doctor, and a patient using the iPad tablet. Objective: The aims of this study are to identify which technical factors influence the quality of video conferencing in the home setting and to assess the impact of these factors on the clinical perceptions and acceptance of video conferencing for health care delivery into the home. Finally, we aim to identify any relationships between technical factors and clinical acceptance of this technology. Methods: An action research process developed several quantitative and qualitative procedures during the FTH trial to investigate technology performance and users perceptions of the technology including measurements of signal power, data transmission throughput, objective assessment of user perceptions of videoconference quality, and questionnaires administered to clinical users. Results: The effectiveness of telehealth was judged by clinicians as equivalent to or better than a home visit on 192 (71.6%, 192/268) occasions, and clinicians rated the experience of conducting a telehealth session compared with a home visit as equivalent or better in 90.3% (489/540) of the sessions. It was found that the quality of video conferencing when using a third generation mobile data service (3G) in comparison to broadband fiber-based services was concerning as 23.5% (220/936) of the calls failed during the telehealth sessions. The experimental field tests indicated that video conferencing audio and video quality was worse when using mobile data services compared with fiber to the home services. As well, statistically significant associations were found between audio/video quality and patient comfort with the technology as well as the clinician ratings for effectiveness of telehealth. Conclusions: These results showed that the quality of video conferencing when using 3G-based mobile data services instead of broadband fiber-based services was less due to failed calls, audio/ video jitter, and video pixilation during the telehealth sessions. Nevertheless, clinicians felt able to deliver effective services to patients at home using 3G-based mobile data services.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere90
    Pages (from-to)e90
    Number of pages10
    JournalJMIR mHealth uHealth
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


    • Broadband
    • Effectiveness
    • Home care
    • Mobile data networks
    • Reliability
    • Telehealth
    • Video conferencing


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