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Multi-Center Palliative Case Conferences:
A Model Integrating Video-Conferencing and the Web
FR Guoa, MH Linb, LA Shuec, TY Chiua, IW Wangc, SZ Tsaib, CY Chena
aThe Department of Family Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital
bThe Department of Family Medicine, General Veterans Hospital, Taipei
cThe Department of Family Medicine, Tsichi Buddhism Hospital


Introduction: Palliative Medicine is a new profession in Taiwan, which requires closer and more frequent cooperation among hospitals. This study evaluated the effectiveness of distance education model used for palliative case conferences. Four medical centers attended this project including NTUH, NCKUH, VGHTpe and Tsu-Chi Buddhism Hospital. Materials and Methods: Integrated Services Digital Network was the network integrating synchronous and asynchronous distance education. Desktop video-conferencing system, Multi-point Control Unit, electronic white board, World Wide Web were implemented. There were eight conferences proposed during November 1997 to May 1998. A structured questionnaire was used to evaluate the satisfaction of attendants. Results: The first meeting was failed due to the problem of ISDN connection. 116 questionnaires were collected at NTUH. 94.0% attendants felt the overall audio quality was acceptable. 93.1%  attendants felt the overall video quality was acceptable and 86.7% felt the overall slide show quality was acceptable. The least satisfactory item of audio quality, video quality and slide show was the synchronism of speaker's lip and speech, smoothness of motion pictures and the illumination/contrast/color of the slides respectively. There was no significant difference of attendants' satisfaction between participating as remote or local sites. Whether the attendants were directly involved in the care of cases affected the satisfaction. Conclusion: The reliability of ISDN and MCU at the initial stage of our study was not satisfactory, however, the reliability became higher afterwards. The results revealed that the quality of video-conferencing system in this study was acceptable. The attendants involved in the care of the patient were more like to appreciate video-conferencing. Although the web played an important role in this study, the effectiveness of asynchronous distance education was not clear in this study.
Key words: Integrated Services Digital Network, multi-point control unit, video-conferencing, the World Wide Web, palliative medicine

Contact Person: Guo, Fei-Ran M.D.


Department of Family Medicine
National Taiwan University Hospital
1 Chan-Der St.
Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

TEL: 011-886-2-2397-0800 ext. 8721 or 2147
FAX: 011-886-2-2393-3031 or 2311-8674

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