Hospital units in the Southern Denmark region and 20 municipalities are collaborating to form a regional research collaborative to treat diabetic foot ulcers. A trial has been set up to use telemedicine to replace conventional consultations at outpatient clinics with consultations in the patient’s home.
The aim for the randomized controlled trial with 400 patients is to improve the treatment process through increased collaboration and better coordination between healthcare professionals. The trial will substitute outpatient visits with telemedicine consultations to see if the solutions can reduce the number of acute contacts related to treating the ulcer.
During the treatment process, homecare nurses will regularly attend to the patient and take photos of the ulcer using a mobile phone. The photos will then be uploaded from the mobile phone to an electronic ulcer database.
At this point, the hospital will be notified that new images and notes on a particular ulcer are available. After the ulcer specialist at the hospital examines the photos of the ulcer, the ulcer specialist contacts the homecare nurse directly via the ulcer database or by phone and gives the homecare nurse instructions on how to care for the patient.
Further communication on the patient’s case can also be accessed by the patient and the general practitioner via the ulcer database. It is possible to view the images as well as the communications between the homecare nurse and hospital specialist.
In Europe, smaller nations such as Denmark and Scotland seem to have a competitive advantage to adopting eHealth and telemedicine. On December 7th 2012, Claus Pedersen from Odense University Hospital and Region of South Denmark and Niels Rossing from Med Com and formerly Chief Physician and CIO in Copenhagen, will be speaking at EHTEL 2012 Symposium to be held December 6-7 in Brussels Belgium. They will present the Danish Health and eHealth Strategy telemedicine strategy on the national and regional level. For more information, go to www.ehtel.eu/symposium2012.
Professor George Crooks OBE, Medical Director of NHS 24 and the Scottish Ambulance Service and Donna Henderson, Lead of Development at the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare will also present telehealth experiences at EHTEL that are endorsed by the Scottish National eHealth Strategy.
In addition, EHTEL and the Association Internationale de la Mutualite have jointly organized telehealth study visits to Denmark and Scotland in previous years. To download the use case reports resulting from these visits, go to www.ehtel.eu/publications/ehtel-briefing-papers.
In other news, Romania, the U.S Trade and Development Agency, and the Romanian Ministry of Health awarded $422,786 to the International Development and Technical Assistance LLC to study how to improve primary and specialist healthcare delivery in rural Romania. There is a major void in healthcare availability for rural Romanians who comprise fifty percent of the country’s population.
The project will evaluate the emergency care telemedicine network as well as studying primary care telemedicine. A pilot was implemented this year in ten family practitioners clinics in the Delta area connecting them to the county hospital based at Tulcea.
Currently, Romania has a national telemedicine system connecting 100 hospital emergency medical data reception centers at Targu Mures and Bucharest. The third medical data reception center is now being tested in Iasi.
In another project, the Republic of Albania has been working with USAID and the Albanian Ministry of Health to renovate the Telemedicine Center at the Shkoder Regional Hospital. Shkoder is one of the sites completed in the first phase of the larger USAID/DOD project which also includes Tirana, Durres, and Kukes regional hospitals. The U.S European Command’s Humanitarian Assistance Office provided $166,000 for the project.