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Remote-control health
Date:5/23/2008

With search engine companies establishing online personal health records for their users and surgeons on the brink of making robotic surgery routine, it makes sense to have a remote medical care system that can support nursing staff, care managers and other healthcare workers. Writing in the International Journal of Web and Grid Services from Inderscience Publishers, a Japanese team describes a proposal for such a system.

Akio Koyama of Yamagata University, Japan, and colleagues there and at Yamagata College of Industry and Technology, and Fukuoka Institute of Technology, have drafted a proposal for a remote healthcare system with three main functions. The first function acts as a multipoint communication system with video images and voice. The second automatically uploads vital signs data and referencing. The third function involves remote monitoring of drip infusions that provide the patient with a controlled supply of medication or nutrients. The team has already carried out successful field trials with their prototype remote medical care support centre.

The researchers point out that their system could address some of important socioeconomic problems, such as providing quality medical care for all citizens, even those living in small towns and rural areas.

Currently, access to sophisticated healthcare is often restricted to those in major conurbations and people in sparsely populated areas are usually required to seek healthcare some distance from their homes. "These trips can require hours of travel time for a relatively short examination, and thus are neither convenient nor an efficient use of the patient's time," says the team. Conversely, having healthcare workers with specialist knowledge travel to remote areas is equally wasteful of resources at various levels. The optimum solution, the team says, is to provide a medical consultancy solution using information and communications technology.

Their remote system brings
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Contact: Akio Koyama
akoyama@yz.yamagata-u.ac.jp
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

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