Technology | November 25, 2009

X-Ray Tackles Healthcare Obstacles in Developing Countries

November 24, 2009 - There are many issues facing X-ray deployment in developing countries. Some of these hurdles involve poor infrastructure requiring renovations to existing facilities, a lack of skilled medical personnel, and inadequate storage of medical records and other data.

To overcome these obstacles, the World Health Imaging, Telemedicine & Informatics Alliance (WHITIA), is has develped a self-contained, remote-operated, digital, medical imaging device designed to meet the imaging needs of resource-limited areas where skilled medical professionals and technologists are in short supply. The device, Remi-d, combines DR X-ray technology with a remotely controlled avatar technologist and automated patient experience to create a safe, low-cost chest X-ray screening booth for areas of the developing world experiencing HIV/TB co-epidemics, high incidences of black lung diseases or outbreaks of other infectious respiratory diseases.

A building that is not well equipped for an X-ray creates a cost barrier to the timely and efficient deployment of imaging equipment. The self-contained nature of the Device eliminates the need for renovations and enables digital X-ray capabilities to be brought to virtually any facility. The use of a DR X-ray system enables Remi-d’s images to be sent to radiologists located anywhere in the world for immediate interpretation and diagnosis.

To compensate for a lack of medical personnel available for both taking and interpreting chest X-rays, WHITIA provides remote technologist operating the X-ray system and remote radiologist interpreting the film eliminate the need to have this expertise onsite. A culturally authentic, digital representation of the remote technologist is transmitted through the avatar. The remote technologist guides the patient through the entire X-ray process in much the same manner that it would occur if the technologist were physically present.

Because data regarding TB screening needs to be much more effectively stored and transmitted, the electronic capture of patient information allows for a central repository of patient data as well as the dissemination and sharing of that data across stakeholders.

Finally, a computer interface allows patients to quickly register for X-ray services and retrieve their results after the diagnostic report has been completed by the radiologist. Patients can choose to have a copy of their results sent to a personal health records site such as Microsoft HealthVault or Google Health or have Remi-d burn a copy of their images onto a CD.

*NOTE: Remi-d has not yet been submitted for approval to the FDA.

For more information: www.whiti.org and www.merge.com

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