December 12, 2012 — Nearly 12 months after their first collaborative medical outreach project, the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) and GE Healthcare are in rural northwest India again to utilize advances in cardiovascular ultrasound technology to enhance medical education for healthcare providers caring for underserved populations.
An organized team of ASE member sonographers and physicians has traveled to New Delhi to train Indian physicians in image acquisition while testing the possibilities of remote medical education. The educational event is a collaboration with Medanta – The Medicity, one of India’s largest multispecialty medical institutes, located in Gurgaon in India’s National Capital Region. An additional team of ASE sonographers is assisting in training via the Internet and StatVideo’s EchoBoxes, equipment designed to stream cardiac ultrasound images over the Web. Twenty Indian physicians are receiving training on-site, while half of the physicians are also benefitting from additional training by ASE sonographers providing real-time instruction remotely from the United States. This technology is assisting them to see the images the Indian physicians scanned, providing the ability to instruct the physicians on improved acquisition in real time.
After a successful medical camp in January 2012, healthcare providers on this year’s project have included two new corporate sponsors, CoreSound Imaging and StatVideo, to expand the reach from the rural setting with long-distance, Web-based technology to the remote sonographers. The project was organized by Partho P. Sengupta, M.D., FASE, a New York-based cardiologist, member of ASE’s board and the India liaison for ASE, and local training was coordinated by Ravi Kasliwal, M.D., and Manish Bansal, M.D., FASE, of Medanta – The Medicity.
“This educational activity sets a benchmark in delivering innovative Internet-based teleconsultation and tele-education program to physicians,” said Sengupta. “The physicians registered for a novel training module: ASE-VISION (Value of Interactive Scanning for Improving Outcome of New Learners). This program ushers newer training possibilities in integration of tele-echocardiography with activities that range from real-time online assessments, long distance consultations, information sharing and education of physicians in remote areas of the world.”
Clinicians will leverage GE Healthcare ultrasound technology, including the laptop-sized Vivid i and Vivid q, plus the Vscan pocket-sized visualization tool, to facilitate the acquisition of the images and provide an educational and awareness vehicle for India-based physicians. The systems will be used on loan from GE Healthcare, which also provided an educational grant for the project to help support travel for sonographers. Vscan leverages ultrasound technology to provide clinicians with an immediate, noninvasive method to help obtain visual information about what is happening inside the body. In remote areas, as well as in today’s clinical setting, the ability to take a “quick look” inside the body may not only help clinicians detect disease earlier but also better triage patients.
“Based on the positive impact and success of the medical camp in January 2012, GE is honored to help provide education to local physicians and improve the care provided to citizens in India once again,” said Al Lojewski, general manager, cardiovascular ultrasound, GE Healthcare. “Through the use of portable GE ultrasound technology and the collaboration with local healthcare providers, ASE and its physician members are helping improve the overall quality of care for thousands of people in this rural part of India.”
StatVideo’s five EchoBox devices enable real-time ultrasound video images to be streamed over the Web from Medanta Hospital in India to the United States. When needed, the consultants can view these images in real-time with physician participants at Medanta.
Core Sound Imaging is delivering Studycast, a cloud PACS (picture archiving and communication system) that allows physicians to view and report on ultrasound images that have been performed. Studycast provides physicians access to the exams and reporting package from across town, or across the globe. Studycast makes a comprehensive reporting solution available for everyday use or occasional collaboration.
“ASE’s Global Initiative efforts are a natural fit with Studycast. Studycast is about bringing innovative solutions to physicians, wherever they are,” said Laurie Smith, chief operating officer of Core Sound Imaging. “Vision, compassion and enthusiasm in the ASE leaders have driven this project and inspired Core Sound Imaging to collaborate with GE and ASE to deliver this education and outreach initiative to those in India.”