Even limited telemedicine could improve developing health
A lack of infrastructure in developing countries, and particularly in rural areas, often ensures that healthcare provision is absent. Research published in the International Journal of Services, Economics and Management by a team at Howard University in Washington DC suggests a solution to this insidious problem involving the development of telemedicine.
Ronald Leach and colleagues describe a highly asynchronous service model for healthcare delivery. The approach is much cheaper to implement than direct medicine and even less expensive than other approaches to telemedicine that have been suggested for rural and developing parts of the world. The approach to rolling out their solution is entirely incremental and would provide improved health service even in the initial stages before the system is fully implemented, the team says. "Our proposed service model provides relatively comprehensive, but not universal, healthcare coverage," says Leach. "The application of current thinking in systems service engineering, when coupled with economic models of costs (in both monetary and resource areas), can help provide an extremely useful healthcare environment," he adds.
Telemedicine usually refers to the synchronous electronic communication of medical information - medical records, videos of complex procedures, training information, viewing of remote procedures and analysis etc . The promise is that telemedicine could bring medical expertise to remote areas without the expense and difficulties of trying to bring the experts to the patients or requiring many of those patients from such regions to central hospitals or clinics. There is also hope that telemedicine might allow epidemics to be more quickly contained as information is shared and emerging problems addressed more rapidly. This form of telemedicine is, however, expensive in itself and not amenable to the poor infrastructure of many rural developing communities.
Fundamentally, rural developing communities mostly do not have the information technology bandwidth to support synchronous telemedicine. However, there is often adequate technology for some communication and Leach and colleagues suggest that this might be exploited in asynchronous telemedicine.
Until now, there have been no viable models for overcoming the limitations inherent in existing communications infrastructure in Africa, and elsewhere. Leach suggests that a relatively low- cost solution makes use of existing communications channels, computing equipment, text messaging via cell phone, medical personnel and technical support service personnel and says that parts of the system are relatively easy-to-implement, at least from a technical perspective. The approach also exploits the daylight time difference between Africa and the US to utilise bandwidth on communications satellites at a time when US users are least active. There is in asynchronous telemedicine no need to network the computers just to provide each with access to the information via available satellite channels.
A nine-step example shows how asynchronous telemedicine might benefit a patient who is seen by a local healthcare worker or can reach a rural clinic.
1 The healthcare practitioner makes a preliminary analysis of the patient's condition and enters identifying information into a laptop or cell phone.
2 The healthcare practitioner connects a cell phone or laptop over underused satellite networks to the electronic healthcare records, EHRs, database stored somewhere in the cloud of servers in the USA.
3 The healthcare practitioner queries the EHRs database for information on this patient or on local outbreaks of relevant diseases.
4 A minimal, text-based set of information is sent to the healthcare practitioner's laptop or cell phone over the underused satellite network.
5 Based on the information received, the healthcare practitioner treats the patient. Medical supplies may be ordered if available.
6 If the medical situation can wait, the local healthcare provider asks for additional medical opinions from colleagues in his or her own county or in the USA.
7 After the patient is treated, the results of the treatment are uploaded by the healthcare practitioner to the patient's record stored in the cloud.
8 The process described in steps 1 to 7 are repeated if necessary.
9 Local public health officials are notified if appropriate.
More information: "A service model for improving healthcare delivery in rural developing communities" in Int. J. Services, Economics and Management, 2012, 4, 75-92
Provided by Inderscience Publishers
- Modified Bluetooth speeds up telemedicine Nov 02, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Communicating your way to a healthy heart Mar 30, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Remote-control health May 23, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Telemedicine leads to better stroke treatment decisions Aug 03, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- In Brief: Verizon head pushes for healthcare IT Apr 18, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Calorie information in fast food restaurants used by 40 percent of 9-18 year olds when making food choices
A new study published online today (Thursday) in the Journal of Public Health has found that of young people who visited fast food or chain restaurants in the U.S. in 2010, girls and youth who were obese were more likely ...
Health 8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Implementation of systematic monitoring for medication adherence will allow for identification of barriers to adherence and tailoring of interventions, according to a viewpoint piece published ...
Health 10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—The Obama administration says more doctors and hospitals are embracing technology as adoption of computerized medical records reaches a "tipping point" in America.
Health 11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Johns Hopkins researchers report that hospitals may be reaping enormous income for patients whose hospital stays are complicated by preventable bloodstream infections contracted in their intensive care units.
Health 12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A University of Illinois researcher says that the cornerstone of our efforts to alleviate food insecurity should be to encourage more people to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) "because ...
Health 12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Swiss scientists reveal the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria—and dramatically slow it down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young.
14 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (7) | 0 |
Existing research shows that bicyclists who wear helmets have an 88 percent lower risk of brain injury, but researchers at Boston Children's Hospital found that simply having bicycle helmet laws in place showed a 20 percent ...
3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have led the largest sequencing study of human disease to date, investigating the genetic basis of six autoimmune diseases.
14 hours ago | 4.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion—the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior.
11 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 2 |
(HealthDay)—Migraines and depression can each cause a great deal of suffering, but new research indicates the combination of the two may be linked to something else entirely—a smaller brain.
11 hours ago | 4 / 5 (2) | 0 |
A new approach for immunizing against influenza elicited a more potent immune response and broader protection than the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines when tested in mice and ferrets. The vaccine ...
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |