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Clinicians' and patients' experiences and satisfaction with unscheduled, nighttime, Internet-based video conferencing for assessing acute medical problems in a nursing facility.
Videoconferencing between patients and their physicians can increase patients' access to healthcare. Unscheduled videoconferencing can benefit patients with acute medical problems but has not been studied extensively. We conducted a clinical trial of unscheduled, nighttime videoconferencing in a nursing home, where on-call physicians usually provide care by telephone from remote locations. Although most calls for medical problems did not lead to videoconferencing, physicians and nursing-home residents were satisfied with videoconferencing when it did occur, and physicians reported that making medical decisions was easier with videoconferencing. Videoconferencing was most often conducted to assess residents with changes in mental status, abnormal laboratory values, or falls. Physicians often lacked immediate access to videoconferencing equipment when medical problems with residents occurred. This application could benefit from improved access and portability of equipment.