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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Minerva Ginecologica 2002 October;54(5):447-52
Prenatal telemedicine and teledidactic networking. A report on the ''TOCOMAT'' project
Di Lieto A., Scaramellino M., Campanile M., Iannotti F., De Falco M., Pontillo M., Pollio F.
Telemedicine originates with the combined use of electromedical equipment, information technologies and telecommunication systems designed to improve healthcare by overcoming the limitations of time and space. Moreover, telemedicine also possesses greater didactic potential than instruction by traditional means. Teledidactic networking, both as e-learning and e-teaching, represents a new integrated system of computer-aided education for the development and management of distance learning programs. Our study evaluated the effectiveness of teledidactic applications in the first Italian project in conventional and computerized telecardiotocography (TOCOMAT). Five cardiotocography outpatient monitoring facilities were linked telematically to a university central operating unit to obtain computerized analysis of telecardiotocographic (CTG) tracings and specialist consulting. The peripheral site operators received theoretical-practical training in the function and use of the system, the guidelines for CTG tracing interpretation and the diagnostic-therapeutic protocols. Improvement in learning progress was observed in the reduction of technical errors in CTG recording and in the increased ability of the outpatient clinic staff to select, analyze and interpret test results. Results from the feedback questionnaires on the didactic impact of the project indicated objective improvement in the specific skills acquired by the physicians at these facilities. The findings also show that a well-structured distance learning course can improve clinical, technical and managerial skills and behavior of healthcare operators by promoting the kind of professional continuing education a modern medical school should provide.