UK National Health intends to use telemedicine technician replace ophthalmologist

March 25, the British Medical Informatics Association invited North Devon British health trust and Chongqing Planning Commission Chinese medical team and health information technology experts, conducted a video conferencing. North Devon health doctor Caspar report about ‘North Devon remote county ophthalmic diagnostic information systems’ ; after that, British and Chinese export discussed about telemedicine legal defined, division of responsibilities, and operational modalities and cross-boarder telemedicine and other issues.

Devon has four general hospitals with total area of 6,707 square kilometers and serving around 110 million inhabitants with majority of the rural population in North Devon. Currently, North Devon received 5,000 patients each year and 15,000 referral. If we forecast 5% of annual increase, in the next five years total patients served each year will reach to 6,400, referral number reach to 19,000 times. However within this number, 1/3 of the disease is glaucoma and wet macular. As the British national health financial allocations decreasing, North Devon is facing shortage of funds to hire a doctor. Thus, North Devon clinic for glaucoma and macular degeneration new model telemedicine, and plans to increase the utilization rate of 10% in the next five years.

Under this new model, the patient in North Devon community hospital will collected ophthalmic diagnostic data by doctors at community hospital and the doctors at the main hospital the doctor will make a real time diagnosis. All the clinical information data will entry the UK national electronic medical records data base Medisoft, and image information will entry to dedicated database and merge with main hospital PACS database. North Devon is currently selected static telemedicine, use the idle space in community hospital to set up the equipment, and especially installed 50 megabytes internet for 3D Scan image transport. However, during the initial implementation, the North Devon has expired a hard time, such as initial telemedicine equipment does not meet the DICOM standard, data can not entered automatically which increase the errors, in additional, the mager of image database and PACS database was over load. At moment, the UK remote ophthalmic diagnostic equipment is cost around 100,000 pounds, but the North Devon clinical will demonstrate the investment feasibility in Clinical consequent, economic benefits and patient experience.

Next step, North Devon hospital will change all remote ophthalmic diagnostic equipment under DICOM standard, the patients information will sent to community hospital in advance or use the trucks carrying remote medical equipment to rural areas. Furthermore, to improve the network speed, improve the software UI design to speed up the doctor’s diagnosis and speed up the telemedicine ophthalmic technician training.

Doctor Casper highlighted that, for clinical considerations, North Devon doctor will arrange a face to face consultation with patients at first time, and then use the remote medical diagnosis; and when the patients has new disease, the hospital will arrange a face to face consultation with doctor. find more info