Feature | June 06, 2010

Telemedicine in the 3rd World

Doctors review and transfer digital X-ray from iCRcos CR to MedWebs VirtualPACS.

Doctors use a MinXray unit to capture an image of an infant with a clubfoot.

Dr. Juan Vasquez examines the thyroid gland of a patient using Global Medias ultrasound probe.

"Most people have no idea what a tremendous impact radiology and telemedicine have on poor and remote regions of the world," said Rebecca Cornelius, M.D., professor of radiology, neuroradiology, department of radiology, University Hospital, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine.

Cornelius was one of the physicians on the panel and video presentation "Zero Footprint Radiology and Telemedicine Build a Platform for Sustainable Care," which Imaging Technology News (ITN) hosted at the SIIM 2010 Annual Meeting, June 4 in Minneapolis.

The panelists described how physicians based in the United States used teleradiology and telemedicine technology to treat patients located in a remote clinic in Honduras. The panelists made the case that this technology suite is the basis for sustainable health care outreach programs in the future.

ITN Editor Cristen Bolan then presented a video illustrating how physicians and technicians equipped The Roy and Melanie Sanders Frontera Medical Center in Honduras with the digital imaging and informatics infrastructure.

Several providers donated the suite of imaging technology. The equipment included a telemedicine system and ultrasound probe from Global Media, the VirtualPACS Web-based picture archiving and communication system (PACS) from MedWeb, a portable digital x-ray system from MinXray and a computed radiography (CR) unit from iCRco.

In the video, Dr. Juan Vasquez gives a live demonstration of how the imaging suite quickly and seamlessly operates. Vasquez started by taking an x-ray image, processing and reviewing it on the CR, and uploading the data set to the PACS in under 10 minutes. The guest of honor, Honduran Minister of Health Arturo Bendaña, himself a trained physician, easily toggled through the streamlined digital workflow. Vasquez explained how the transition from film to digital x-ray would save the clinic on significant costs incurred from developing film.

Vasquez then examined a patient’s thyroid gland with the ultrasound probe connected to a laptop computer. Next, he used a high-definition telemedicine camera to capture superficial anatomical images. Finally, he uploaded the images and consulted with physicians over Global Media’s video-conferencing system.

Jeffrey E. Heck, M.D., executive director and founder of Shoulder to Shoulder, explained to onlookers this was a model for delivering high-tech care, including expert specialty consultations, to some of the most remote and isolated areas of the developing world.

“With the addition of this technology, poor people have access to the same set of services that any well-equipped health center in the United States has access to,” Heck said.

The panelists included:
- Rebecca Cornelius, M.D., professor of radiology, neuroradiology (Clin Geo), University Hospital; University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine; Department of Radiology
- Phillip Silberberg, M.D., head of Shoulder-to-Shoulder Radiology, pediatric radiologist, Kosair Children’s Hospital,
- Roland Talanow, M.D., Ph.D., department of radiology, The Cleveland Clinic
- Hayley Holland, MPH, director of grants and projects, Shoulder-to-Shoulder
- Kim Guevara, corporate philanthropy officer and director of emergency management, Medweb.

For more information: www.shouldertoshoulder.org

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