The patient had been injured during a skiing accident, receiving severe facial injuries. Normally this type of injury involves a referral to a maxillofacial surgeon, but the Eastern Maine Medical Center was able to test out their teletrauma system by connecting the patient and local physician to a trauma surgeon.
The EMMC’s trauma surgeon, Rafael J. Grossmann Zamora, was able to connect to the patient, clearly discuss the circumstances of the injury with the physician, and even get a close-up view of the patient’s pupils during the neurological examination. And the entire connection was established via two iPod Touchs, which were used by both the physician and Dr. Zamora.
An added benefit in this circumstance was that the patient and his family were able to hear every part of the consultation. Consequently, they were much more assured that they’d made the right choice by staying with the onsite physician and using telemedicine.
Thoughts On Consumer Technology
The way telemedicine was used in this scenario is reflective of larger trends in both healthcare and industrial electronics.
Many organizations, from the US military to multi-million dollar companies, are considering the adoption of corporately-designed consumer electronics, which can reduce cost and increase versatility compared to ordering specialized devices for each of a company’s needs. As we can see, medical centers have picked up on the trend as well.
The benefits of such an approach come from the fact that the design of these products is typically very straightforward, and the software development packages allow for individualized applications by each organization, even though hardware considerations have been mostly bypassed. The result is reduced cost for the companies and increased ease of use for the employees.
These versatile consumer devices save companies time and money by allowing them to forgo having to design their own technology, but in addition they allow for users to already be familiar with how the technology works. This level of comfort and familiarity can reduce training costs, and if consumers and patients are involved, it increases their peace of mind.
We have yet to see where these devices will take us in the future, but one can say for certain that scenarios like the one that occurred at the EMMC will become more common, not less, as the future arrives.