Telemedicine and Telepresence for Trauma and Emergency care Management

Telemedicine

ABSTRACT
The use of telemedicine is long-standing, but only in recent years has it been applied to the specialities of trauma, emergency care, and surgery. despite being relatively new, the concept of teletrauma, telepresence, and telesurgery is evolving and is being integrated into modern care of trauma and surgical patients. This paper will address the current applications of telemedicine and telepresence to trauma and emergency care as the new frontiers of telemedicine application. The university medical center and the Arizona Telemedicine program (ATP) in Tucson, arizona have two functional teletrauma and emergency telemedicine programs and one ad-hoc program, the mobile telemedicine program. The southern Arizona Telemedicine and Telepresence (SATT) program is an inter-hospital telemedicine program, while the Tucson ER-link is a link between prehospital and emergency room system, and both are built upon a successful existing award winning ATP and the technical infrastructure of the city of Tucson. These two programs represent examples of integrated and collaborative community approaches to solving the lack of trauma and emergency care issue in the region. These networks will not only be used by trauma, but also by all other medical disciplines, and as such have become an example of innovation and dedication to trauma care. The first case of trauma managed over the telemedicine trauma program or “teletrauma” was that of an 18 month- old girl who was the only survival of a car crash with three fatalities. The success of this case and the pilot project of SATT that ensued led to the development of a regional teletrauma program serving close to 1.5 million people. The telepresence of the trauma surgeon, through teletrauma, has infused confidence among local doctors and communities and is being used to identify knowledge gaps of rural health care providers and the needs for instituting new outreach educational programs.

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