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Conducting a study of Internet-based video conferencing for assessing acute medical problems in a nursing facility.
We expect the use of real-time, interactive video conferencing to grow, due to more affordable technology and new health policies. Building and implementing portable systems to enable conferencing between physicians and patients requires durable equipment, committed staff, reliable service, and adequate protection and capture of data. We are studying the use of Internet-based conferencing between on-call physicians and patients residing in a nursing facility. We describe the challenges we experienced in constructing the study. Initiating and orchestrating unscheduled conferences needs to be easy, and requirements for training staff in using equipment should be minimal. Studies of health outcomes should include identification of medical conditions most amenable to benefit from conferencing, and outcomes should include positive as well as negative effects.