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Journal of Biomedical Education
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 823639, 8 pages
Research Article

TelePresence in Rural Medical Education: A Mixed Methods Evaluation

1Gippsland Medical School, Monash University, Churchill, VIC, Australia
2Centre for Medical Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
3SkejSim Medical Simulation & Skills Training, Aarhus, Denmark
4School of Rural Health, Monash University, VIC, Australia
5Health Professions Education and Educational Research (HealthPEER), Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, VIC, Australia

Received 25 October 2013; Accepted 28 December 2013; Published 10 February 2014

Academic Editor: Saeed Farooq

Copyright © 2014 Katherine Gray et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In response to rural health workforce shortages, universities and training providers offer rural and remote clinical placements. This has led to development of educational methods to counter the barriers of distance. In this emerging field, recent improvements in technology have provided solutions including the use of sophisticated videoconferencing systems such as the Cisco TelePresence model CTS-500. This paper evaluates the use of TelePresence in diverse medical education activities using a mixed methods design—questionnaires , individual interviews , and observed practice of activities . TelePresence was found to be beneficial to learning and teaching and superior to other systems participants had used. In particular, the audiovisual quality, resulting intimacy, convenience, and ease of use facilitated teaching and learning, while the fixed camera and poorly arranged physical environment were found to be limitations. The system is best suited for small group activities. Clinical skills-based activities are viable. It is recommended that technical support be available during setup and use and a picture-in-picture mode be included and improved integration of office suite software to provide a joint workspace for display of presentations, images, editing or annotation of documents, and file sharing.