Provision of telephone advice from accident and emergency departments: a national survey.
This study sought to gain a national picture of the provision of telephone advice using a postal survey of senior nurses from accident and emergency (A&E) and minor injury units (MIUs). In all, 268/313 (85%) of hospitals/units responded. The average number of calls reported as received per day was 15.5 (median 12; quartiles 6, 20) for weekdays and 21.0 (median 17; quartiles 10, 29) for weekends. Most (89%) viewed the provision of telephone advice as an important component of their work, but few units offered staff training for this role or had implemented protocols or guidelines. Only 5.4% units included the number of calls received in their department in their workload figures, but 91.9% felt that they should be. Extrapolation of the data from this study to all 313 A&E and MIUs in the UK suggests that just under two million calls for telephone advice are currently made to units each year. Recognition and formalization of this aspect of work is likely to be of increasing importance given the constraints on services and the need to manage demand effectively. Future integration of A&E telephone advice calls with NHS Direct should be considered as a means of managing demand and avoiding duplication of service provision. (+info)
Can patients predict which consultations can be dealt with by telephone?
The use of telephone consultations to reduce the workload of general practitioners is well established both in this country and abroad. The principal aim of this study was to discover the proportion of consultations currently carried out in the surgery that would be suitable, for both doctor and patient, to be managed over the telephone. The second aim was to establish what proportion of such consultations could be predicted. (+info)
Concerns and confidence of general practitioners in providing telephone consultations.
BACKGROUND: In recent years the number of telephone consultations provided out of hours has increased. However, most general practitioners (GPs) have received little training in this area despite the specific skills needed to compensate for lack of visual information. Moreover, there has been no research exploring GPs' concerns and training needs in telephone consulting. AIM: To assess GPs' concerns and levels of confidence in providing telephone consultations in order to inform the development of a new training course. METHOD: Prior to attending the course, GPs were surveyed by interview or self-completion questionnaire to explore their confidence in providing telephone consultations. RESULTS: Thirty-eight GPs participated, and the sample was highly skewed towards females. The average age of participants was 42 years, 5 years less than the mean for GPs in the area. Low levels of confidence were reported by GPs in providing telephone consultations out of hours. A number of characteristics were common to telephone consultations described as difficult. The most important were lack of visual clues and lack of information about the patient, both of these were heightened in the out-of-hours period. Organizational factors leading to reduced confidence levels were also identified. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates low levels of confidence among GPs conducting telephone consultations, and highlights contributing factors. Although it is not clear how far these results can be generalized, they demonstrate the need to consider telephone consulting skills training in the context of new out-of-hours arrangements. The results have been used to develop a two-day course. (+info)
Teleradiology in the operating room of the future.
Recent advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are rapidly making this modality the imaging method of choice for image-guided neurosurgical operations. However, to be ready for its prime time in the operating room (OR), utilization of MRI in the OR requires development of better techniques for image-guided navigation, as well as interactive real-time teleradiologic methods that will allow tele-collaboration between the surgeon and the radiologist. This presentation describes our work in progress toward achievement of teleradiology in the OR. (+info)
Performance and function of a high-speed multiple star topology image management system at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale.
Mayo Clinic Scottsdale (MCS) is a busy outpatient facility (150,000 examinations per year) connected via asynchronous transfer mode (ATM; OC-3 155 MB/s) to a new Mayo Clinic Hospital (178 beds) located more than 12 miles distant. A primary care facility staffed by radiology lies roughly halfway between the hospital and clinic connected to both. Installed at each of the three locations is a high-speed star topology image network providing direct fiber connection (160 MB/s) from the local image storage unit (ISU) to the local radiology and clinical workstations. The clinic has 22 workstations in its star, the hospital has 13, and the primary care practice has two. In response to Mayo's request for a seamless service among the three locations, the vendor (GE Medical Systems, Milwaukee, WI) provided enhanced connectivity capability in a two-step process. First, a transfer gateway (TGW) was installed, tested, and implemented to provide the needed communication of the examinations generated at the three sites. Any examinations generated at either the hospital or the primary care facility (specified as the remote stars) automatically transfer their images to the ISU at the clinic. Permanent storage (Kodak optical jukebox, Rochester, NY) is only connected to the hub (Clinic) star. Thus, the hub ISU is provided with a copy of all examinations, while the two remote ISUs maintain local exams. Prefetching from the archive is intelligently accomplished during the off hours only to the hub star, thus providing the remote stars with network dependent access to comparison images. Image transfer is possible via remote log-on. The second step was the installation of an image transfer server (ITS) to replace the slower Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)-based TGW, and a central higher performance database to replace the multiple database environment. This topology provides an enterprise view of the images at the three locations, while maintaining the high-speed performance of the local star connection to what is now called the short-term storage (STS). Performance was measured and 25 chest examinations (17 MB each) transferred in just over 4 minutes. Integration of the radiology information management system (RIMS) was modified to provide location-specific report and examination interfaces, thereby allowing local filtering of the worklist to remote and near real-time consultation, and remote examination monitoring of modalities are addressed with this technologic approach. The installation of the single database ITS environment has occurred for testing prior to implementation. (+info)
Teleradiology: technology and practice.
Teleradiology increases the ability of radiologists to provide service to remote and underserved locations as well as coverage at times when direct reading of images is not possible. Good practices for teleradiology are described in the American College of Radiology (ACR) teleradiology standard. Teleradiology equipment is converging with picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) equipment so that diagnostic interpretation from remote locations is possible. Image capture can be directly from digital modalities or by film scanner. Transmission speed is still an issue. High transmission speeds were difficult to achieve but recent improvements may increase speeds and decrease costs. (+info)
Systematic review of cancer treatment programmes in remote and rural areas.
In an attempt to ensure high quality cancer treatment for all patients in the UK, care is being centralized in specialist centres and units. For patients in outlying areas, however, access problems may adversely affect treatment. In an attempt to assess alternative methods of delivering cancer care, this paper reviews published evidence about programmes that have set out to provide oncology services in remote and rural areas in order to identify evidence of effectiveness and problems. Keyword and textword searches of on-line databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, HEALTHSTAR and CINAHL) from 1978 to 1997 and manual searches of references were conducted. Fifteen papers reported evaluations of oncology outreach programmes, tele-oncology programmes and rural hospital initiatives. All studies were small and only two were controlled, so evidence was suggestive rather than conclusive. There were some indications that shared outreach care was safe and could make specialist care more accessible to outlying patients. Tele-oncology, by which some consultations are conducted using televideo, may be an acceptable adjunct. Larger and more methodologically robust studies are justified and should be conducted. (+info)
Remote telemedical interpretation of neonatal echocardiograms: impact on clinical management in a primary care setting.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of telemedical echocardiographically assisted neonatal cardiovascular evaluation in a primary care setting. BACKGROUND: Neonates with congenital heart disease are frequently born far from pediatric subspecialty centers and can be clinically unstable at presentation. Recent advances in telecommunication technology have made it possible to transmit echocardiographic images over long distances. This technology may be beneficial to newborns with heart defects who are born in primary care centers. METHODS: A retrospective review of all telemedical echocardiograms obtained from neonates (aged 1 day to 30 days) was performed. A telemedical link was created using a T-1 transmission line and a standard voice telephone line between the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (pediatric cardiology site), and the Altru Clinic, Grand Forks, North Dakota (primary care site), which is a general pediatric practice 400 miles from Rochester. Neonates with possible cardiac disorders were identified by the general pediatricians, who then requested telemedical echocardiography. RESULTS: The 133 neonates had 161 T-1 echocardiograms. Median patient age was two days (range, one day to 29 days). One hundred thirty-two of 133 initial echocardiograms (99%) were obtained because of urgent indications. Transmitted images provided adequate diagnostic information in all patients. Seventy-nine neonates (59%) had a change in medical management or required cardiology follow-up. An immediate change in management occurred in 32 patients (24%), including seven in whom emergency transfer was either arranged or avoided. CONCLUSIONS: Telemedical echocardiography provides accurate diagnostic data in neonates. Rapid telediagnosis facilitates appropriate care of sick neonates with possible congenital heart disease in the primary care setting. Unnecessary long-distance transfers can be avoided with this technology. (+info)