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 Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania 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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>