How to Prevent Technical Issues in Large Multiparty Medical Videoconferencing
Introduction: Videoconferencing (VC) is useful for physicians who need to learn about many cases without moving from one institution to another. However, this advantage can be hampered by technical issues. This study aims to analyse the factors relating technical support that cause technical issues in regular multiparty medical VC to provide high-quality VC to meet participants’ demands. Methods: The study includes large multiparty VC between the Kyushu University Hospital Department of Paediatric Surgery and different institutions within Japan that were held from September 2014 to January 2017. Technical tests, a “previous-week test” and a “last-hour test,” were conducted for checking conditions prior to the VC. The chi-square test was used for factors: participation for previous-week and last-hour test, and attendance by an engineer VCs in each participating institution. A questionnaire survey was distributed among the participants to collect feedback on the quality of VC, ease of preparation and necessity of previous-week testing. Results: Participation in the last-hour test (P=0.002) and the presence of an engineer (P=0.049) significantly decreased overall technical issues. The last-hour tests significantly decreased disconnection (P=0.015) and audio (P=0.019) issues. The engineer’s attendance decreased content-sharing issues (P=0.027). Participants reporting “very good” and “good” audio and visual quality were 92% (109/118) and 96% (105/110). Eighty-three percent of participants (82/99) found the preparation “very easy” or “easy”; while 61% (63/103) found the previous-week test, “unnecessary.” Conclusions: Based on our study, “engineers’ attendance” and “last-hour” technical testing significantly reduced technical problems; these factors help provide high-quality output VC and meet the needs of the participants.
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