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Efficacy of a videoconferencing intervention compared with standard postnatal care at primary care health centres in Catalonia

DOI: 10.1016/j.midw.2013.08.004
  • Videoconferencing
  • Postnatal Care
  • Breast Feeding
  • Midwifery


Abstract Objective to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention combining videoconferencing and telephone contact compared to standard post partum care of recent mothers attending health centres in Catalonia were recorded. Design multicentre, randomised parallel controlled clinical trial. Participants and setting 1598 post partum women with Internet access attending eight ‘Attention to Sexual and Reproductive Health’ (Catalan acronym ASSIR) units at Primary Health Care centres, in Catalonia (Spain). Intervention at each of the eight ASSIR units, 100 women were randomly assigned to the intervention group (IG) and 100 to the control group (CG). Women in the IG could consult midwives by videoconference or telephone and could also receive standard care. Women in the control group received standard care from midwives at their health centres or at home. Measures number and type of visits, reasons for consultation, type of feeding at six weeks and women's satisfaction with the intervention on a scale of 1 to 5. Findings 1401 women were studied (80.9% of the initial sample), 683 in the IG and 718 in the CG. Two hundred and seventy-six women (40.4%) used videoconferencing or telephone in the IG. The mean total visits, virtual and face-to-face, was higher in IG women than in controls (2.74 versus 1.22). IG women made fewer visits to the health centre (mean=1) than CG women (mean=1.17). Both differences were statistically significant, with p<0.001 and p=0.002 respectively. The prevalence of breast feeding was similar in the two groups (IG 64.5%, and CG 65.4%). The mean overall satisfaction of women with midwife care was very high in both groups (IG 4.77, CG 4.76). Conclusions and implications for the practice virtual care via videoconferencing is effective for post partum women. It reduces the number of health centre visits and allows mothers to consult health staff immediately and from their own home.

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