User satisfaction with home telecare based on broadband communication
Home telecare services based on broadband communication were established in five locations in Europe. Two different types of telecare unit were developed: one based on a PC or set-top box containing a videoconferencing codec and another on off-the-shelf videoconferencing units. The participants in the project were 13 medical staff, 135 patients and 88 people informally caring for the patients. Questionnaires were used to evaluate user satisfaction with eight telecare services. Almost all participants rated the usability of the system as good or excellent. A total of 105 telecare sessions were scored by the medical staff. Overall, the quality of audio and video communication was judged satisfactory. For the patients and carers, the perceived quality of communication was also satisfactory and did not vary significantly between sites. The medical staff were reasonably satisfied with how the service supported them in their work. Except for the item about being able to support patients in a critical situation, medical staff agreed that an improved quality of health services was offered through telecare. All participants agreed that personal information was treated confidentially and that there was little risk in using the telecare services. The medical staff trusted the assessments they could make remotely while using the telecare system. Although the findings cannot be generalized due to the small number of telecare sessions and the relatively short duration of the experiment, the results encourage further research.