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The Feasibility of Reviewing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Clients at a Distance: A Teleconference Pilot Study

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By Gwyneth C. Weatherburn, et al • www.ProHealth.com • December 13, 2006


Journal: Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, vol. 14, No. 1, 2007 [Abstract published online ahead of article, which is not yet available] Authors: Gwyneth C. Weatherburn, Amelia Goldsmith Lister, Leslie J. Findley. DOI: 10.1300/

Objective: There continues to be a shortage of clinical staff specializing in the treatment of CFS (ME). In order to access specialist care, many clients have to undertake long or difficult journeys that may exacerbate their symptoms. This exploratory study aimed to reduce these travel problems by the introduction of a Teleconference Review Clinic (TRC).

Method: A TRC was booked for six CFS clients who would normally have face-to-face review by specialists 44 miles away. Questionnaires were used to elicit the views of both clients being reviewed and clinicians undertaking the review at a distance. Differences in distances traveled by clients for conventional face to face and telemedicine review were calculated and comments about the teleconference made by clients and therapists were noted.

Results:
n There was general satisfaction with the quality of the pictures and sound during the reviews. Clinicians were able to obtain all the information required to undertake all clinical assessments.
n For two clients the clinical management was changed after the consultation and for one client an issue was identified that required referral to another clinician.
n For clients who lived nearer to the teleconference hospital, the journey saved ranged between 1 mile and 85.8 miles, the mean being 64.2 miles.

Conclusion: This pilot study does suggest that telemedicine in this area of medicine is logistically viable and effective, and indicates that a larger study is needed. Keywords: Chronic fatigue syndrome, teleconference, review




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