A fetal telecardiology service: patient preference and socio-economic factors

Prenatal Diagnosis
Brian A McCrossanF Casey

Abstract

The aims of this study were to evaluate patients' opinions on a fetal cardiology telemedicine service compared with usual outpatient care, the effect of the telemedicine consultation on maternal anxiety and its impact on travel times and time absent from work. Prospective study over 20 months. Eligible patients attended for routine anomaly scan followed by fetal echocardiogram transmitted to the regional centre with live guidance by a fetal cardiologist, followed by parental counselling. All patients were offered a fetal cardiology appointment at the regional centre. Structured questionnaires assessing maternal satisfaction, travel times/days off and anxiety scores completed at time of both fetal echocardiograms. Sixty-seven patients were recruited and 66 completed the study. Participants expressed very high satisfaction rates with fetal telecardiology, equivalent to face-to-face consultation. The telecardiology appointments were associated with significantly reduced travel times and days off work (p < 0.01). Expectant mothers expressed a clear inclination for a fetal cardiology appointment at the local hospital facilitated by telemedicine (p < 0.01). Fetal telecardiology is highly acceptable to patients and is even preferred c...Continue Reading

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