Friday, February 12, 2010

Broadband speed to change telemedicine

The managing director, PathCare, Pamela Ajayi, has stated that high speed broadband nationwide at reasonable cost will enhance the use of information communications technology (ICT) in Nigeria especially in the area of medicine.She made this known at a one day broadband summit held on February 9, 2010 at Golden Gate, Ikoyi, Lagos.

According to her, improving connectivity, wireless broadband technology will deliver the critical access to propel rural medicine forward, securing not only its long-term viability, but potential for growth.

She added that wireless broadband technology is cost-effective, bringing big city capabilities to both urban and rural medical clinics around the globe, ensuring their very survival in the process, and thus, would enable rural medical practices to leverage advanced broadband solutions to improve communications, offer better patient care, monitor and streamline administrative processes.

Speaking on “The importance of ICT in Medicine” she noted that development in technology has driven improvement in medicine and advances in diagnosis, treatment and record keeping.

Ajayi said that lab medicine would improve accuracy of instrumentation, quality assurance which can be measured by test results TAT, communication, integration, and storage/archival services.

She added that software is becoming the future of the laboratory information system as it would lead to a service-oriented lab outreach sector where labs would be able to send their results electronically to doctor’s lab portal.

She pointed out that web-based services have changed lab/patient relationship to doctors, while adding that lab portal would allow doctors' offices to operate more efficiently and avoid patients' calls for results, thereby, saving money.

According to her, “information technology destroys time and distance; breaks down “glass curtain” between lab/doctors. IT can provide doctors the information/consultations in various clinical settings precisely when they need it. The need to move to the “smart report” which is web report with information, images, hot-links to other resources on web. We should view our reports as mini-textbooks about various diseases so valuable that clinicians will file for later reference. And the need to create icons on reports so that clinicians can click to get rapid access to the pathologist who created them”.

She added “Telemedicine is extremely beneficial for populations living in rural communities. It is essential to protect patient information by creating a solution that provides a secure pipe for the transmission of electronic patient health records (EHR), real-time diagnostic imaging and access to core databases”.

According to her, the medical benefits of technology is improving the perception of locally provided healthcare quality, Offering a larger menu of locally provided medical services, treating emergencies more efficiently, adding that telehome monitoring could help providers better manage elderly rural residents with chronic conditions, thereby, reducing hospitalizations and avoiding early placement in nursing homes or assisted living care facilities.

The economic benefits, according to her, would reduce time of work due to decreased travel time to access specialist care, lower the cost of travel to receive care, increase revenue from pharmacy and lab work that can be conducted locally and reduce cost to health facilities by outsourcing specialized medical procedures.

She added that PathCare is the first laboratory in Nigeria to be accredited to ISO 15189 by South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) in January 2006, thereby, receiving international recognition for its testing ability and competence, to ensure the highest level of test efficiency, accuracy and precision.

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