How to Prevent Technical Issues in Large Multiparty Medical Videoconferencing


  • Shunta Tomimatsu Telemedicine Development Center of Asia, Kyushu University Hospital
  • Kuriko Kudo Telemedicine Development Center of Asia, Kyushu University Hospital
  • Taiki Moriyama Telemedicine Development Center of Asia, Kyushu University Hospital
  • Tomohiko Moriyama Telemedicine Development Center of Asia, Kyushu University Hospital
  • Tomoaki Taguchi Department of Pediatric Surgery, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University
  • Shuji Shimizu Telemedicine Development Center of Asia, Kyushu University Hospital
Keywords: videoconferencing, distance learning, education, technology, pediatrics


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.

Author Biography

Shunta Tomimatsu, Telemedicine Development Center of Asia, Kyushu University Hospital

Shunta Tomimatsu has a degree in design for Kyushu University, with a master degree in design for the same university. He has worked as an engineer for the Telemedicine Development Center of Asia (TEMDEC) at Kyushu University Hospital in Fukuoka, Japan since April in 2015.


Rupert DJ, Poehlman JA, Hayes JJ, Ray SE, Moultrie RR. Virtual versus in-person focus groups: Comparison of costs, recruitment, and participant logistics. J Med Internet Res 2017;19:e80.

Karis D, Wildman D, Mané A. Improving remote collaboration with video conferencing and video portals. Hum Comput Interact 2016;31:1-58.

Freeman M. Video conferencing: A solution to the multi-campus large classes problem? Br J Educ Technol 1998;29:197-210.

Brooks M. Feasibility of developing a pediatric telehealth network in Honduras with international consultation support. Rural Remote Health 2017;17(2):3965.

Foronda C. Graduate Nursing students’ experience with synchronous, interactive videoconferencing within online courses. Q Rev Dis Educ 2014;15(2):1-8,69-70.

Banbury A, Parkinson L, Nancarrow S, et al. Multi-site videoconferencing for home-based education of older people with chronic conditions: the telehealth literacy project. J Telemed Telecare 2014;20(7):353-359.

Chipps J, Ramlall S, Mars M. Videoconference-based education for psychiatry registrars at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Afr J Psychiatry 2012;15:248-254.

Cameron M, Ray R, Sabesan S. Physicians' perceptions of clinical supervision and educational support via videoconference: A systematic review. J Telemed Telecare 2014;20:272-281.

Cameron M, Ray R, Sabesan S. Remote supervision of medical training via videoconference in northern Australia: A qualitative study of the perspectives of supervisors and trainees. BMJ Open 2015;5:E006444.

Karaman S. Virtual classroom participants’ views for effective synchronous education process. Turk Online J Dis Educ 2013;14(1):290-301.

Eady MJ. Employing the EPEC hierarchy of conditions (version II) to evaluate the effectiveness of using synchronous technologies with multi-location student cohorts in the tertiary education setting. Int Rev Res Open Dis 2017;18(3).

Shimizu S, Kudo K, Antoku Y, et al. Ten-year experience of remote medical education in Asia. Telemed J E Health 2014;20:1021-1026.

Ho SH, Rerknimitr R, Kudo K, et al. Telemedicine for gastrointestinal endoscopy: The Endoscopic Club E-conference in the Asia Pacific Region. Endosc Int Open 2017;5:E244-E252.

Yang L, Fujimoto J. Childhood cancer mortality in Japan, 1980-2013. BMC Cancer 2015;15:446.

Kudo K, Shimizu S, Chiang TC, et al. Evaluation of videoconferencing systems for remote medical education. Creat Educ 2014;5:1064-1070.

Minh CD, Shimizu S, Antoku Y, et al. Emerging technologies for telemedicine. Korean J Radiol 2012;13:S21-S30.

Marlow J, Carter S, Good N, Chen JW. Beyond talking heads: multimedia artifact creation, use, and sharing in distributed meetings. Proceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing 2016;1703-1715.

Harnett B. Telemedicine systems and telecommunications. J Telemed Telecare 2006;12(1):4-15.

Moes NCCM, Velasquez A, Leung WS, Papadopoulou AE. Development of design competences for international team-based cyber physical systems. Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Tools and Methods of Competitive Engineering 2014;461-474.

Oertig M, Buergi T. The challenges of managing cross-cultural virtual project teams. Team Perform Manage 2006;12:23-30.

Caniglia G. Transnational collaboration for sustainability in higher education: Lessons from a systematic review. J Clean Prod 2017;168:764-779.

How to Cite
Tomimatsu, S., Kudo, K., Moriyama, T., Moriyama, T., Taguchi, T., & Shimizu, S. (2018). How to Prevent Technical Issues in Large Multiparty Medical Videoconferencing. Journal of the International Society for Telemedicine and EHealth, 6(1), e10 (1-8). Retrieved from
Original Research