You may have heard of global preventive health care initiatives by WHO, UNICEF and others. But have you heard about global telemedicine? Medicine that knows no borders and can seamlessly transfer knowledge, expertise, and surgical techniques across nations and continents? Well, there are several foundations, universities, hospitals, and healthcare providers that are laying the framework for telemedicine across borders, using advanced communication solutions by Lifesize.

So, what is telemedicine, you ask? Simple…Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technologies in order to provide clinical health care at a distance. It helps eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services that would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities.

One such foundation is the Seattle Science Foundation provides worldwide healthcare through world-class education and training. This foundation brings together the best minds in medicine, technology, and engineering and combines it with the most powerful collaborative platform to spread knowledge about healthcare throughout the world!

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Medical collaboration through telemedicine

While telemedicine has the potential to greatly improve the standard of care around the world, to many people, the word, “telemedicine” conjures up fears of cold and impersonal automation. This could not be further from the truth. There are four different and exciting ways in which telemedicine is making healthcare more personable and more effective than ever before!

Some of these ways are:

1) Reinventing the traditional house call: Thanks to video conferencing the good old house call is making a comeback. Many healthcare providers have begun offering home care in the form of nurse practitioners armed with the latest video conferencing solutions. Patients get the care and attention of a house call, as well as a face-to-face collaboration with a remotely-located physician. And all of this for a fraction of the price of a traditional physician house call.

2) Improving response to natural disasters: Hundreds or even thousands of victims of natural disasters may be in need of immediate medical care. Thanks to telemedicine solutions, experienced doctors working from a handful of the world’s most prestigious trauma centres can collaborate with paramedics and volunteers thousands of miles away. These doctors can offer their expert opinions and even direct triage operations, thereby greatly reducing the number of casualties in even the most devastating disasters. This is a reality thanks to video conferencing and other collaboration solutions.

3) Sharing data quickly and efficiently: In the not-so-distant past, rural patients would often have to either relocate to commute to a city or national healthcare hub to receive treatment for complicated procedures or rare diseases. Today, due to telemedicine, healthcare providers are able to consult and share data quickly and effectively through video conferences and even simulated surgeries. This ensures that people in even the most remote corners of the world can receive high-quality treatment while living at home.

4) Extending access to mental health professionals: Telemedicine is once again providing an elegant, affordable and practical solution to the need for affordable and accessible mental healthcare. Due to a severe shortage of experienced psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, effective mental healthcare can often not be provided to the vulnerable populations that need it the most. Using telemedicine, mental health professionals can conference in to locations all over the world, providing diagnoses and suggesting treatment options to patients who would otherwise be underserved.

While some of this seems like science fiction to the disbelievers, most of this is already available. With telemedicine receiving support from governments, medical professionals, healthcare providers, and hospices worldwide, this is a technology trend that is here to stay.

So, the next time you hear the word, “telemedicine” it should not conjure up images of impersonal doctors and taciturn nurses. Instead, do view this as an essential part of healthcare that is slowly but surely improving the lives of patients worldwide. Here’s to truly universal and high-quality healthcare!

For more information on how to set up video conferencing and other collaboration solutions, contact Actis at 022-30808080 or at contact@actis.co.in.

(Content and images courtesy: www.lifesize.com)

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