Telemedicine Reporter – International Edition

Vanderbilt University’s Professor Thomas Abramo joins USTM Medical Advisory Board

Professor Thomas Abramo, M.D., Chief of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Director of the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital Emergency Department, and Professor of Emergency Medicine  and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical School, joins the Medical Advisory Board of US Tele-Medicine. “We are honored to welcome Professor Thomas Abramo to US Tele-Medicine. His interest in the vital and poignant service of Emergency Pediatric Transport is especially crucial to pioneering efforts and advances in Triage Telemedicine,” said Jacques von Speyer, Chairman of US Tele-Medicine.

Telemedicine technology is ready but deployments need boost to meet access
Telemedicine is technologically ready to meet the growing demand for access to health services in developing nations and remote areas around the world, say experts from IEEE, a professional technical association. However, widespread use of telemedicine will require greater collaboration between technologists and clinicians to ensure it delivers on its promises in the real world — millions more people reached, with measurably better outcomes for those patients.

Telemedicine project begins in Adirondacks
Construction is expected to begin this week on a broadband network that will link 48 medical facilities across the North Country, including most of the Adirondack Medical Center’s facilities. The $9.8 million Adirondack-Champlain Telemedicine Information Network is designed to allow hospitals and other health care facilities to more readily access and share information. It also will make it easier to conduct examinations or remote medical procedures through voice, video and data applications.

Germany: Schleswig-Holstein state telemedicine project ‘My Heart’ begins
The newly launched telemedicine project My Heart is an initiative of state health insurer Deutsche Angestellten Krankenkasse and a group of private clinics in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein together with the home-visiting doctors and specialists that cooperate with them. As a result, patients will receive telecare at home through tele-diagnosis. In Schleswig-Holstein, the mortality rate due to heart failure has been 36 percent above the national average. Now, with the My Heart project, a unique network of specialists should significantly improve the care of those affected; the medical experts of the clinic as well as their partners are available to provide support and advice to the participants.

Scientists Create Carbon Nanotube–Based Sensor with a Sense of Smell
In the quest to integrate biological molecules with nanotechnology, a group of researchers has developed a a carbon nanotube–based transistor that incorporates olfactory receptor proteins. Seeking to create electronic devices with a sense of smell that could eventually replace the use of animals to sniff out drugs or bombs, the scientists also hope to develop olfactory electronic devices for performing disease diagnosis.

Going Mobile—But Not so Fast, Says FDA
Using a smartphone or other mobile computing devices, both patients and doctors alike will be able to keep tabs immediately on a range of bodily and device functions. But FDA is saying “hold your horses,” announcing that it is seeking input on its proposed oversight approach for certain medicine or healthcare-related mobile medical apps that are designed for use on smartphones and other mobile computing devices.

FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Device Changes That Warrant New 510 (k) Submission
The U.S. FDA issued draft guidance that clarifies when changes or modifications to a previously cleared 510(k) device require a new premarket submission. Manufacturers often make changes or modifications to a device after FDA clearance that do not require a 510(k) submission, such as incorporating new technology or upgrading certain aspects of the device. But when the changes could significantly affect the product’s safety or effectiveness or constitute a major change to the intended use of the device, another 510(k) must be submitted.

A little telemedicine goes a long way toward building patient support
Brief use of Web-based telemedicine has a significant positive effect on patients’ perceptions of the service, a Dutch research team concluded. Writing in Telemedicine and e-Health, the team added that since patients do not have prior experience with innovative telemedicine services, offering patients a risk-free way to explore and experiment with the service can increase the development of accurate perceptions and user needs—which in turn will increase patients’ acceptance of telemedicine. Future studies should investigate the effect of continued usage on patients’ perceptions of telemedicine, the researchers said.

Expanding beyond India, Apollo Hospitals tripling its telemedicine centers
Apollo Hospitals Enterprise (Chennai, India) plans to more than triple its number of telemedicine centers to 500 from 160 worldwide with a focus on Indonesia, Thailand, Laos and Burma. “The telemedicine centers are a pull factor for international patients,” Krishnan Akhileswaran, Apollo’s CFO, told the Indian newspaper Mint. Apollo, which is one of India’s largest private healthcare providers, on July 20 completed a Qualified Institutional Placement, through which it raised Rs. 330 crore ($74.4 million) toward its expansion plans by selling 6,666,666 shares at Rs. 495 ($11.16) per share to qualified institutional buyers. The placement is part of the Rs. 1,000 crore ($225.5 million) Apollo has said it would raise toward adding 2,400 beds by 2014. Apollo now operates more than 8,500 beds across 54 hospitals throughout India.

Vendors help Australia’s RACGP craft standards for telehealth technology
Representatives of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) have met with 13 vendors to discuss standards for telehealth technology as well as possible opportunities within Australia’s A$618.5 million ($671.5 million) telehealth program. RACGP is working under an October deadline for crafting standards for video consultations for the program, launched on July 1. Meeting with RACGP were U.S. tech giants Microsoft and IBM, as well as AIIA, Telstra, Optus, AAPT and BT Australasia. Videoconferencing vendors Lifesize, Polycom, Vidyo, Attend Anywhere and Vantage Systems also met with the general practitioners’ group, as did medical technology supplier Medtel.

Eye surgeon’s team uses telemedicine to screen Armenian children for eye diseases
Thomas C. Lee, MD, a member of the physician team collaborating with the Armenian EyeCare Project (AECP), recently returned to Yerevan, Armenia, and neighboring rural areas to teach more doctors how telemedicine can help them diagnose and treat complex blinding diseases in premature infants. Dr. Lee, eye surgeon with The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, last year joined the AECP in its annual mission to Armenia to teach local doctors how to save sight in children by diagnosing and treating Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). The doctors determined they needed an interactive telemedicine and distance learning portal. To date, Dr. Lee and his team have screened more than 300 children and observed more than 1,000 supervised exams over the internet.

Nursing college wins $339K grant for project that includes telemedicine
The College of Nursing at South Dakota State University has won a $338,447 federal grant through the Nurse Education, Practice and Retention Program, overseen by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. The project will use patient simulation technologies and telehealth resources to prepare nursing students to practice in rural settings.

Air Force Medical Support seeks bids for study on autism healthcare via telemedicine
Air Force Research Laboratory, 711th Human Performance Wing, on behalf of Air Force Medical Support (AFMS) Agency /Modernization Directorate is soliciting white papers on research topics that include exploring the use of telemedicine to deliver Autism healthcare services. “Current AFMS staffing constraints, limited AFMS system capabilities, and a mobile patient population requires a medical infrastructure capable of meeting unique provider and patient circumstances,” the agency noted in its solicitation. The Air Force anticipates awarding 10 to 20 awards annually, each award totaling $100K to $1M annually, with total contract values of up to $3M over three year periods. Total program cost is $49.5 million over five years.

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