eHealth in the Home: Critical for Care of Premature Infants?

While digital and mobile health technologies continue to be deployed with haste among adult patient populations around the world, providing care and monitoring for infants through eHealth has been a more complicated and controversial practice.

A new study, however, is shedding light on the use of digital and mobile health resources for premature infants, particularly the babies that have already been released from the hospital.

The aim of the study, as highlighted in the BioMed Central journal, was to investigate whether the use of video conferencing or a web application improves parents’ satisfaction in taking care of a premature infant at home.

“Thirty-four families were randomized to one of three groups before their premature infant was discharged from the hospital to home health care: a control group receiving standard home health care (13 families); a web group receiving home health care supplemented with the use of a web application (12 families); a video group with home health care supplemented with video conferencing using Skype (9 families).”

After the survey period had concluded, all the parents in the web group found the web application easy to use.  As a result, a commanding majority (83%) of the families thought it was “good to have access to their child’s data through the application.”

Similarly, all the families in the video group found Skype easy to use and were satisfied with the video calls. 88% thought that video calls were, in fact, superior to ordinary phone calls.

“33% of the families in the web group and 75% of those in the video group thought the need for home visits was decreased by the web application or Skype,” the report summary reads. “50% of the families in the web group and 100% of those in the video group thought the web application or the video calls had helped them feel more confident in caring for their child.”

The findings concluded that the participating families were largely satisfied with both the web application and video conferencing, although “motivating some of the nurses to accept and use ICT was a major challenge.”

To read the complete results of the study, click here to access the document at no charge from the BioMed Central journal.

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