Journal of telemedicine and telecare. vol:9 issue:2 pages:99-103
A distance continuing medical education programme was established at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium using multipoint videoconferencing via ISDN lines at 384 kbit/s. The sessions, held in the evening, comprised oral presentations followed by interactive questions and answers, and concluded with a multi-site panel discussion. At all sites the session could be followed on two screens. The speaker/moderator or a questioner at a peripheral site, for example, was shown on the first screen and digital images were projected on the second screen. A multi-site voting system was provided. In weekly sessions between five rotating sites, a multipoint videoconference dealing with a different medical topic was presented and treated in a multidisciplinary way. During the three years of the project, 20 different peripheral sites were visited or revisited. On a five-point scale (with higher scores representing more positive evaluations), the average score for the quality of the image was 3.72 (SEM 0.01) and for sound 3.87 (SEM 0.01) (n = 3743). The mean rating of the voting system was 3.76 (SEM 0.02) (n = 3119). For sound, image quality and the voting system, respectively, 73%, 65% and 70% of all participants gave ratings of 'very good' or 'good'. The older participants gave slightly more positive ratings than the younger ones. Videoconferencing appears to be a suitable alternative to face-to-face seminars.