This paper describes business and technological challenges and solutions for a successful emergency telemedicine venture called MediComm. Its objective is to provide a new generation of integrated information and communication systems, targeting medical and emergency care organizations. This system enables multi-directional transfer of information (including voice, data, fax, video) between the organization’s central information system and its mobile fleet of ambulance vehicles. MediComm enables emergency care personnel to take a patient’s vital measurements and personal information in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, send the information to the hospital, and receive from the hospital directions for the patient’s treatment during transportation. When the patient arrives into the hospital, his/her information will be already updated in the information system, and the medical personnel will be ready to provide the necessary care immediately. Thus, time will be saved, which for many patients is of critical importance. The treatment of patients will be more effective and simplified, which will result in substantially lower cost of medical care.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Intensivist: A physician who specializes in the care of critically ill patients, usually in an intensive care unit (ICU).
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): A US law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. Developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, these new standards provide patients with access to their medical records and more control over how their personal health information is used and disclosed.
Emergency Telemedicine: Delivery of emergency medical services at a distance using advanced telecommunications, robotic and computer technology and their applications.
Recurring Costs: Costs resulting from the ongoing, regular business operations, normal maintenance, and anticipated repair or replacement of components, systems or subsystems.
Non-Recurring Costs: Costs that occur on a one-time basis, and are unlikely to occur again in the normal course of business. Non-recurring costs include: capital expenditures, unusual charges, design, development and investment costs, various kinds of losses, legal costs, and moving expenses.
Broadband Internet: A high data transmission rate Internet access, which ensures at least 200 kbit/s in one direction according to the FCC standard.
Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR): A record that incorporates all provider records of encounters where the patient has received medical care including the medical history, operational and financial data.
Digital Signal Processing (DSP): The processing of various kinds of signals by digital means. A signal is a stream of information representing anything from stock prices, radio or satellite transmissions, medical measurements to environmental measurements from remote sensors.
Telerobotics Surgery: A technique where the main surgeon is physically located somewhere else but is able to operate on a patient using a telerobotic arm, while monitoring on a computer display the progress of the surgery.
Telesurgery: Surgical procedures carried out at a distance using advanced telecommunications, robotic and computer technology and their applications.