Both patients and medical staff in a recent Swedish eHealth project found that video calls are equivalent or even better than home visits by health care staff. That’s one of the findings in the project “Connected for Health” aimed at demonstrating the viability of a system that runs on any of several networks and allows for adding eHealth solutions from third party vendors.

Home care patients said the video calls almost feels like real visits.

“It’s easy to recognize the staff when you can see them” one patient said. Patients also said that the system was user friendly, saved them money on phone bills and brought them closer to their family and friends as they can use video chat not only with medical staff during the checkups. One participant happily said in an interview that “It’s great that I can see my daughter that works at sea for ten weeks at a time!”

Home care and medical staff have also reviewed the tool as helpful as, or better, than a normal phone call, as it gives a better picture of the patients’ wellbeing. It allows staff to spend more time with the patient than on travelling between different locations. All but one participant agreed that it’s just as good or better than a short visit.

In many cases patients will be able to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital as they will receive medical advice instantly in the video call. Sometimes, the journey to the hospital might even be a risk of infection or a hazard for the patient, and it would be better attending to their needs in their home.

Swedish minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality, Åsa Regnér, mentioned the project as a good example of an eHealth platform in a speech at the University hospital Charité in Berlin earlier this month.

A few technical problems have been identified by the users, which have sometimes made the usage time consuming. However home care clients says when this has been fixed they will definitely continue using the service.

The project took place in the town Hudiksvall in Sweden where thirteen clients, ages 56 to 96, as well as four home care staff and two administrators participated. The services in the project was based on nWise's MMX platform.

Read more about Åsa Regnérs speach HERE