Two-year experience with telemedicine in the follow-up of patients in home peritoneal dialysis

J Telemed Telecare. 2007;13(6):288-92. doi: 10.1258/135763307781644906.


We evaluated the use of telemedicine in the long-term control of stable patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis at home. From September 2003 to August 2005, patients were randomly selected from current cases and invited to join study group A, in which they had telemedicine support. Patients not selected for this group, or who refused the invitation, were placed in study group B, and used for comparison. There were 25 patients in group A and 32 patients in group B. Videoconferencing equipment was installed in each patient's home, connected to a videoconferencing unit at the hospital by three ISDN lines. Patients in group A were followed for a mean of 8 months (range 3-24) with alternate months of teleconsultations and hospital visits. A total of 172 teleconsultations were conducted. A mean of 22 min (SD 9) were spent on each teleconsultation, significantly less than in hospital consultations, which took a mean of 33 min (SD 8) (P<0.01). In 148 teleconsultations (89%) medical treatment was modified. In 4 cases (2%) patients needed a hospital visit. In all instances (100%) the condition of the catheter exit site and the presence of oedema could be evaluated. In group A, the estimated cost of telemedicine was euro198 and that of a hospital visit was euro177. The mean hospitalization rate was 2.2 days/patient/year in group A and 5.7 days/patient/year in group B (P<0.05). Home telemedicine appears to be clinically useful in the long-term follow-up of stable patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis, and the costs and savings also seem to be encouraging.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Costs and Cost Analysis / economics
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Peritoneal Dialysis / standards*
  • Self Care / standards*
  • Telemedicine / economics
  • Telemedicine / standards*
  • Videoconferencing / standards*