Telemedicine: changing the way healthcare meets
I did not know it was so isolated. The nearest referral centres to the north, south and east are more that 2 hours drive away. To the west the nearest is across the Irish Sea in Dublin. But Bronglais General Hospital in Aberystwyth, Wales overcomes distance with telemedicine.
At a seminar in Slough, UK on Tuesday held by Multisense Communications Ltd. clinicians from Bronglais described (online, of course) how they manage cancer cases at the hospital using multi-disciplinary teams (MDT) and virtual consultation. Telemedicine combines live video with diagnostic data, images and even access to the Web.
Five south-east London NHS Trusts in the South East London Cancer Network also consult virtually with thoracic surgeons from Guy’s and St. Thomas’s Hospitals. The Network’s lung cancer MDT meets weekly to review 10 to 15 cases and shares diagnostic information. Dr. Stokes, Consultant in Thoracic Medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich says: “The system allows us to access the CT scan results directly from the scanner or PACS and transmit these live during the meeting.”
Here is technology embedded in healthcare helping patients by shortening waits, saving travelling time and giving access to the best possible treatment at centres of excellence and tertiary referral. All healthcare IT should aspire to this level of seamless integration and benefit.