Healthcare Technology Featured Article

November 05, 2012

Queensland Researchers Looking at Telehealth to Help Aged Care Facilities

The field of Telehealth is gaining steam in the technological world, thanks in large part to several different companies joining the fray. Even Microsoft has managed to carve out their own little corner of the Telehealth market thanks in large part to Lync. Companies and government agencies alike have been taking a longer and closer look at all the different problems that telehealth can help solve. 

Researchers at the University of Queensland have been given a $1million grant from the National Medical Research Council to conduct a four year study into using telehealth technology to aid residential aged care facilities. This study in particular will look at using a Web-based clinical support system as well as a clinical-grade videoconference system.

This particular study will have a video conferencing display on a mobile wireless device put at an aged care facility resident’s bedside. A geriatrician, who is working from a remote telehealth studio, will operate the video conferencing device. The study is geared toward finding out whether using this particular approach will help drive down costs when it comes to transport, especially when talking about reducing costs of transport to emergency care facilities. 

The study will also look at how much improvement is made when it comes to access of specialists, prescribing practices and whether or not this approach improves the quality of care for residents.

Len Gray, who is leading this particular study, says that his study is the most comprehensive in this particular field. “While video conferencing with Skype or other PC-based systems works well for general conversations, it is still of insufficient reliability and quality for clinical diagnostic work,” Gray said in a statement. “Clinical-grade technology is essential when performing a consult with an unwell or frail older person. Conventional video conferencing allows the user to control the camera with better precision, compared with a smaller, hand-held camera.”

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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