Naturally, The West Virginia Telehealth Alliance provides a very wide range of tasks and solutions. In the most general form, they are divided into two large categories: “doctor-patient” and “doctor-doctor”. In practice, there are many areas of telemedicine, which can be grouped according to the main criteria of specialization.
New directions of telemedicine that improve access to health care
“Doctor-Patient” and “Doctor-Doctor” Solutions
The new areas of West Virginia Board of Medicine today include:
- Telemedicine consultations for patients;
- Remote biomonitoring.
- Emergency consultations for doctors;
- Broadcast operations in real time;
- Distance learning and advanced training.
There are other directions, but these are enough for a general understanding of the capabilities of telemedicine.
Remote patient monitoring systems are used by medical professionals to monitor the patients’ health status. This requires special telemedicine equipment with which the doctor can monitor his patient from a distance. Very often, remote monitoring is used to monitor older people who are not able to independently carry out all the necessary therapeutic manipulations. Home telemedicine is especially important for patients who need regular, operative examinations (for example, for people with heart disease).
At the same time, the development of microelectronics technology, mobile broadband Internet access, and special software brings telemedicine capabilities to a new level. Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are very useful. As a result, today West Virginia Board of Medicine can not only monitor the condition of a sick person but also diagnose future problems in a potentially healthy person.
Today, many people wear miniature sensors on their bodies: various fitness trackers and other devices of this kind. But, after all, they can potentially not only consolidate data on their sporting achievements, but also analyze important biometric parameters, on the basis of which you can draw conclusions about the actual state of the body, and in case of potential danger to give an alarm signal to you or your doctor.
How can a system know that a person is not well? With the help of the IoT processing system. In simple words, a huge number of wearable biometric sensors can transmit data about the health of various people to a centralized repository. The processing of the received information allows to make conclusions, which are then used in VA telehealth systems. Moreover, information is provided anonymously – for example, the system knows only the physical parameters of a person (gender, age, pulse dynamics, etc.) but not the data that allow him to identify. On the basis of the collected statistics, conclusions are drawn on the picture of the earliest symptoms of certain diseases. And if they are observed in a person with a biometric sensor, he may be advised to contact a specialist.
Emergency consultations for doctors
There are situations when doctors need help, because severe and complex cases occur everywhere. For example, a specialist of relevant qualification may not be in a district hospital. At the same time, transportation of the patient to the metropolitan clinic or specialized medical center is impossible or impractical (because of the distance of the route) and the specialist will not travel a few hundred miles. The only way out is an urgent video call session, which will help you get the necessary advice as quickly as possible, avoiding the loss of precious time.
Emergency medical consultation may also be necessary for people at such remote from civilization objects as offshore oil rigs or long-distance ships. In this case, the possibility of ensuring stable work over relatively slow satellite communication channels plays a special role.
Live broadcast surgery
Of course, it is impossible to ignore such a specific field of application of telemedicine, as a live broadcast surgery, when beginners or inexperienced surgeons watch online for a surgery conducted by a highly qualified specialist. Moreover, unlike video viewing in the case of video conferencing, there is an opportunity to ask questions on the go or immediately after the operation – to get detailed explanations, to analyze difficult situational moments.
During the operation, specialists can transmit images of various medical equipment (microscope, endoscope or operating table), recorded by digital video cameras.
It is also possible to transmit telemetric information (on the patient’s pressure state, his pulse rate, and many others). Moreover, today medicine is developing rapidly, and new types of operations appear very often. But how can you quickly share your experience with the professional community of the whole world? With the help of video conferencing tools of the West Virginia Telehealth Alliance, it’s easier, faster and more efficiently. Many lives have been already saved using this approach. So the prospects of telemedicine today are great, and this direction will be actively developing for many more years.