Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Telemedicine solutions to optimise healthcare

02.06.2006


When Dr Javier Marco checks his patients he often uses a computer with a videoconferencing link. Many of his elderly patients live in remote villages in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees and no longer travel to where he works. “They’re very satisfied. There is less inconvenience and the quality of care is better,” he says.



Dr Marco is one of several specialists in Spain, Italy and Denmark who began using a telecounselling service last year developed by HEALTH OPTIMUM, a groundbreaking project funded under the European Commission’s eTEN programme that is helping to kick start the deployment of telemedicine across Europe.

Coupled with a telelaboratory service that allows patient test samples to be analysed remotely, the internet-based HEALTH OPTIMUM solutions are having a profound impact on healthcare in the regions where they were tested and where they are continuing to be used. Doctors are saving time, public healthcare systems are saving money, and patients are receiving better coordinated and better quality care.


“At first, patients were surprised when they went to their local doctor’s office and I was able to talk to them and see them over a computer, but surprise turned to satisfaction when they realised they wouldn’t have to come to the hospital,” says Dr Marco. “Barbastro, [where he works], is the only hospital for a widely distributed population. Many people live up to a hundred kilometres away, the winters are hard and the roads can be bad.”

But saving patients the inconvenience of travelling to hospital for routine consultations, when physical check ups with a specialist are unnecessary, is not the only advantage. Because their general practitioner is present during the videoconference, they receive better coordinated care, with the GP and the specialist able to jointly study patient data, including scans and samples, over the telecounselling service.

“The benefits to all actors in the healthcare sector are enormous,” notes Claudio Dario, the HEALTH OPTIMUM project coordinator at the Treviso Local Health Authority in the Veneto region of Italy.

In trials in Veneto, the telecounselling service has been used to link primary healthcare facilities to hospital neurology departments, allowing patients with head injuries to be accurately diagnosed by a specialist without having to be physically transferred to a hospital.

“This resulted in a 79 per cent reduction in the number of people being referred to a specialist facility,” says Dario. “Before the deployment of this service 53 per cent of patients would be referred to a specialist, now just 11 per cent are because neurologists are able to diagnose the patient remotely and determine whether or not they need specialised care.”

Not only does this save neurologists time and healthcare systems money, but the quality of care patients receive improves. “The reliability of the diagnosis is the same because neurologists have access to scans and data from the primary healthcare facility, and by not transferring patients who don’t have to be there, they are not being subjected to unnecessary risks,” Dario notes.

In the event that they do need to be referred to hospital and undergo surgery, the telecounselling system gives physicians access to information about the patient in advance and allows them to prepare more rapidly and efficiently. “By the time a patient arrives, the physicians are ready to put them on the operating table,” the coordinator says.

Saving time, increasing efficiency and improving care are also the main benefits of HEALTH OPTIMUM’s telelaboratory service.

Remote analysis equipment allows primary healthcare professionals to take samples of a patient’s blood or urine, analyse the samples on the spot at the patients bedside or in their home and send the results wirelessly to a specialist over a secure Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

“It normally takes a day or more for samples to be physically sent to a laboratory and the diagnosis returned to the patient’s doctor. Telelaboratory provides results in 10 minutes,” Dario says.

By proving the benefits of telemedicine solutions and deploying them in pioneering trials, the HEALTH OPTIMUM project has acted as a catalyst for the rollout of services to meet the challenges facing public healthcare systems. All the regions that participated in the trials – Aragón in Spain, Veneto in Italy and Funen in Denmark – are continuing to employ and expand the services.

All of Veneto’s health centres will be linked up within “one or two years,” Dario says, while new projects are being planned by the HEALTH OPTIMUM consortium to extend the system to Sweden and Romania.

In Aragón, there are also plans to take the system region wide, says Nieves Campillo, a representative of the regional government. “This has been a revolutionary project with important benefits and wide acceptance among the population,” she says.

Source: Based on information from HEALTH OPTIMUM

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.europa.eu/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/82229
http://istresults.cordis.lu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

nachricht The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>