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Telemedicine Delivers Doctors on TV…Without the Drama

- November 4, 2009 - 2 Comments

If you live in a rural or remote area, access to quality healthcare may be less an issue of insurance coverage, referrals or finances, than an issue of logistics and geography.

Small town hospitals struggle to attract the quality doctors who practice out of the big cities and their suburbs, and many can’t afford to keep the specialists, like neurologists, psychiatrists and other doctors, who can offer patients quality care for specific disorders and illnesses.

To get the care of these doctors, many patients find themselves taking long and expensive trips for treatments. Although this may be fine for non-emergency situations, it can mean delays in administering life-saving treatments when emergency care is needed. These delays can lead to additional life-altering complications, and in some cases be the difference between life and death.

One of the greatest examples of this is stroke. When strokes are caused by blood clots, there are clot-dissolving medications that can be administered to remove the clot and mitigate the damage. Unfortunately, many general practitioners are unable to tell the cause of a stroke immediately and therefore hesitant to administer these medications before a patient can be seen by a neurologist. For some patients, that means being stabilized and transferred over long distances to see a specialist while the delay in treatment leads to increasing damage and lesser recovery.

But now there’s a better way.

 To help deliver relief to stroke victims faster and more efficiently, many hospitals without resident neurologists are turning to video teleconferencing (VTC). By connecting doctors in remote and rural hospitals with neurologists miles away via VTC, patients can be examined, and life-saving medicines can be administered, without the significant delays of transporting a patient or awaiting the arrival of a specialist.

 This is one of the reasons why the Center for Connected Health and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) recently upgraded their VTC systems with solutions from TANDBERG. The TANDBERG solutions will provide an interoperable, reliable and easy to use VTC system that will enable MGH’s staff of internationally-renowned stroke neurologists, including Dr. Lee Schwamm and other specialists, to treat patients and provide consultations to doctors regardless of where they are located.

 In addition to their telestroke program, MGH has launched a pilot program that utilizes TANDBERG’s VTC solutions that, when implemented, can be a real life saver. It’s called teletrauma, and it will enable MGH to bring specialists and translators directly into the emergency room. This is especially important in places with large populations of non-English-speaking residents who may be unable to accurately and effectively describe their problems to doctors. It’s also an excellent way to deliver fast diagnosis and treatment in places where specialists may be a long distance away for people experiencing medical emergencies.

 The use of VTC in healthcare is no longer a novelty. VTC is responsible for bringing life-saving treatments to patients who may have had no access to them, or may have had to wait significant amounts of time for them. Through VTC, every patient is able to receive timely, quality care regardless of where they are. At TANDBERG, we’re proud to be at the forefront of this new way to heal.

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  1. Thanks for the comment and question Dave. We have a handful of clients using TANDBERG solutions in telestroke and other healthcare implementations. We've reached out to them to see if they know of any peer reviewed papers that we can direct you to. We'll keep you posted.

  2. Do you know of any definitive peer reviewed research papers on the clinical benefits of video conferencing by neurological specialists?