Skype clinics after intestinal transplantation – follow-up beyond post codes

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Abstract

The follow-up after intestinal transplantation (ITX) is complex and limited to specialized centers. ITX recipients often travel all over the country to be seen in the outpatient clinic of specialized centers which is costly and time-consuming. Videoconferences through Skype have been implemented to eliminate travel time, costs, and to improve patient compliance without jeopardizing safety. Eighteen of 19 patients followed up after ITX or modified multivisceral transplantation (MMVTX) in conventional outpatient clinics in Oxford agreed to attend additional Skype clinics. All patients who were followed up through Skype clinics after ITX/MMVTX received a questionnaire to measure their satisfaction with methods and technical aspects of videoconferencing as well as time/mode of traveling, travel expenses/costs, waiting time in outpatient clinic and patients' satisfaction. Mean travel distance to Oxford was 236 ± 168 miles, mean travel time was 277 ± 175 min, and mean travel cost was 200 ± 56 Great Britain Pounds. A total of 56% had to take time off work and/or find child/family care for the time spent in travel. These patients reported a satisfaction score of 4.38 ± 0.77 of 5 points as opposed to 2.88 ± 0.90 for attending the conventional outpatient clinic. Skype clinics have been proven successful and feasible in highly specialized fields like ITX in eligible patients.

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