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New Technology in Telemedicine and Reports of Patient and Provider Satisfaction

Telemedicine is an innovative way for doctors to communicate with their patients. To network, doctors and patients use electronic interactive telecommunication equipment, including video and audio devices. Find out about the latest technology in virtual healthcare, and learn what patients and providers think about telemedicine.


One of the best things about telemedicine is that the federal government does not view it as a distance service. Telemedicine is not only cost effective, but it is also convenient for both doctors and patients. This new way of practice is especially useful with elderly patients, who may not be able to get out to the doctor’s office. Others that benefit include immunocompromised patients, who should avoid exposure to crowds. Additionally, telemedicine is a valuable medical tool for people who live in rural areas.


Telemedicine Diagnostics with Cloud Technology

How do doctors diagnose patients using telemedicine? The answer is clear, but complex. The healthcare provider uses devices called ultra-high definition (UHD) technology. Recently, scientists developed a UHD technological device called “Janet”. A group of researchers and engineers at the Universities of Bristol and Cardiff created this technology to enhance telemedicine practice. This UHD device magnifies the video stream four to eight times more than normal for better imaging.

To understand UHD technology, you need to understand the various methods. The UHD video enables doctors to utilize high fidelity visuals to replicate the body, necessary for modern diagnostic imaging. Both infrastructure and high-speed networking are needed for the delivery of this data-intensive1 digital medial to remote users. The researchers place a virtual patient, named Janet, in a diagnostic imaging portal (MRI, X-ray, CT scan or Ultrasound machine). The technician loads the real patient’s data into the system. When a diagnostic test is done, the results actually belong to the real patient.

Data Delivery System through 3-D Advancement


Janet is the virtual patient that contains the real patient’s information, previously uploaded into the data network. When a real patient needs an x-ray, of the arm for example, the use of 3-D technology will highlight and bring the arm to “life” on the virtual patient. Once the technician takes the x-ray, the radiologist will be able to determine if the real patient’s arm is broken. If the patients arm is broken, then treatment is necessary. They basic idea is to be able to diagnose a patient virtually. In the event that the patient’s arm was only sprained, he could wrap it in an ace bandage, put it in a sling or whatever the doctor orders. This saves the patient from having to make a trip outside of the home.

 
With this type of data collection, virtual patients can undergo other tests for diagnostic purposes. For example, there will be a demonstration at the SMRP Conference at the Indiana Convention Center from October 14th to 16th, 2013. Scientist plan to demonstrate “computational modeling on arterial cells,” which are the results of a collaboration with the Cardiovascular Sciences Research Group based at the Wales Heart Research Institute in Cardiff. These scientists designed the virtual patient along with all the data devices to diagnose all diseases, including heart disease.


High-Speed Thin-Client Design for 90% Increase in Responsiveness


Fujitsu Laboratories has developed innovative technology that will respond ten times faster than user operations, even with environments that are low-quality. Previously, client terminal desktop areas for graphics or video have not been adequate. Data is lost, transmissions are not clear and glaring occurs. With this new high-speed thin-client technology, the response time is slashed by up to 90%, making it ideal for users to operate these applications easily.


The design process, shared globally, enables developers to collaborate securely. Researchers believe this paves the way for other thin-client applications, like video-based employee education, tablets for remote operations, and product demonstration at customer sites. The Fujitsu Forum at the Tokyo International Forum exhibits this technology in May of this year.


How Patients and Providers Feel about Virtual Healthcare


Studies show that the real patients trust their doctors enough to agree to participate in telemedicine. Most patients feel that telemedicine has many benefits besides the elimination of travel from the home. For the patient with a difficult diagnosis, he or she can be “seen” by a specialist half way around the world without having to leave the comfort of home! Of course, there are always some people who prefer to see their doctor in person, and that option is not likely to go away anytime soon.


According to Whitten and Love (2005), results of patient satisfaction surveys indicate tremendously high levels of acknowledged gratification and approval, many times above the rates of satisfaction for traditional healthcare delivery. However, data from healthcare providers indicate concern about challenges and delivery barriers. Regardless, the information from both provider and patient satisfaction research suggest remarkable optimism for telemedicine.


References


Physician.org (2013). Cutting edge cloud network technology to enhance the fields of telemedicine. Retrieved from:  http://phys.org/news/2013-04-edge-cloud-network-technology-fields.html


Physician.org (2013). Fujitsu develops high-speed thin client technology for 10-fold improvement in responsiveness. Retrieved from:                                                                                                              http://phys.org/news/2012-05-fujitsu-high-speed-thin-client-technology.html#inlRlv


Whitten, P. & Love, B. (2005). Patient and provider satisfaction with the use of telemedicine: Overview and rationale for cautious enthusiasm. Electronic Medical Record Symposium, 51(4): 294 – 300.

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