Telemedicine has gone way beyond conference calls: new technologies allow doctors to monitor blood pressure and other vital signs — take x-rays even — and assist with operations from miles away.
Wireless technology is moving ‘healthcare outside of clinics and hospitals’, said Pamela Spence, health sciences market leader at Ernst & Young, at the Mobile World Congress trade fair in Barcelona.
And that is making it easier to provide in remote areas, she added.
Participants at the mobile industry’s biggest annual global event discussed how telemedicine is doing more than just connecting doctors and patients over a video or voice call.
A telemedicine cabin developed by French firm Health for Humanity (H4D) allows a doctor hundreds of miles away from a patient measure their pulse rate, temperature and blood oxygen level.
The cabin — dubbed the Consult Station — is also equipped with tools that allow a doctor to carry out X-rays and hearing tests.
Dozens of Consult Stations have so far been installed in France, Italy and Portugal and H4D is carrying out pilot projects in Canada, the United States, the Philippines and Dubai.
But training doctors on how to carry out a clinical exam remotely is ‘crucial’ to the success of the service, said HD4 founder and president Franck Baudino. They have to learn how guide the patient through the process.