Presenting a Mobile Telemedicine Station
One of the exciting things about being an academic is having the opportunity to develop innovative solutions to help solve significant challenges that the world is facing today.
Unequal access to healthcare is one such challenge that persists in many countries around the world. Such inequalities are often exacerbated and more pronounced when natural disaster strikes; landslides, earthquakes, floods and hurricanes expose the fragility of already weak or non-existent medical services in remote regions.
Today, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are revolutionizing access to healthcare and with it comes the opportunity to develop innovative solutions to reach those most in need when a disaster strikes.
ITU and the Autoridad Federal De Tecnologías De La Información y Las Comunicaciones (AFTIC) of Argentina have recently extended a partnership agreement signed in June 2014 to promote the participation of academia in ITU’s work for an additional year. The agreement encourages collaboration between ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) Member States, Sector Members, Associates and Academia, and especially sets out to integrate academic knowledge and resources into Argentina’s ICT public policy and regulatory fields.
The School of Medicine at National University of Rosario (UNR) – one of the several Argentine academic institutions that joined ITU as part of this innovative project – has been actively involved in contributing to the work of ITU Study Groups where participants present ideas, exchange views and achieve consensus on the best strategies to address ICT priorities.
“Anytime Anywhere” Telemedicine for Remote and Rural Areas
One such contribution from UNR was the development of a transportable telemedicine solution called Estación de Telemedicina Móvil (ETMo) (Mobile Telemedicine Station), which offers easy and rapid medical assistance in areas affected by a natural disaster, and deploys specialized medical care in geographically remote areas.
The kit comprises of various basic medical and communications tools specifically selected to aid in emergency situations. The ETMo can connect patients in remote and isolated areas with no power or Internet connectivity to doctors around the world through a satellite multipoint connection contained in the kit. Using connected medical devices, patients’ images and audio are sent instantly, enabling real-time responses from medical professionals, allowing the on-site medical team to provide expert care to those in need.
The ETMo includes a basic telemedicine module, a cardio-respiratory module, imaging modules, medical digital peripherals, power supply and satellite connection, all of which were selected for their efficiency, accessibility and affordability (left, photo of the first ETMo prototype in Rosario, Argentina, in 2010).
A special feature of the ETMo is its ability to connect anywhere thanks to the satellite connection and autonomous energy supply contained in the kit. The kit’s adaptability and versatility means that it can be modified to any situation so future deployments could be broadened to include remote and rural areas providing people with access to low-cost healthcare.
Our position as an ITU-D Academia Member has given us the opportunity to present the project to a wide international audience through ITU-D Study Group 2. It has allowed our project to gain recognition as a suitable proposition for developing countries meaning that the EMTo could soon be replicated around the world. We have also received valuable feedback on the project from other Study Group members.
For more information on the ETMo, click here.
For more information on how to join ITU as an Academia Member, click here.
NOTE FROM ITU ON UPCOMING ACADEMIA ACTIVITIES:
On 8 December 2015, ITU will host a consultation on ITU-Academia collaboration in Barcelona, Spain. It will provide an opportunity to exchange views on what ITU can do to best meet the needs and expectations of Academia. The format will be informal and interactive. This will be a hands-on session involving some 50 participants representing institutions from all over the world. Please register here.
The 2015 ITU Kaleidoscope conference will be held in Barcelona, Spain, from 9 – 11 December 2015. Kaleidoscope 2015: Trust in the Information Society is the seventh series of peer-reviewed academic conferences organized by ITU that bring together a wide range of views from universities, industry and research institutions of different fields. The aim of Kaleidoscope conferences is to identify emerging developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) and, in particular, areas in need of international standards to support the development of successful products and services. Learn more about the event here.
Medical Informatics and Telehealth Division, School of Medicine, National University of Rosario, Argentina. Coordinator of the Telehealth Network of the Americas, Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), Organization of American States (OAS).
Carlos D. Crisci
Professor of Medicine. Director of the Training Center for Advanced Professional Skills (CECECAP), School of Medicine, National University of Rosario, Argentina. Co- Coordinator of the Telehealth Network of the Americas, Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), Organization of American States (OAS).
Director, Medical Informatics and Telehealth Division, School of Medicine, National University of Rosario, Argentina.