WINDHOEK – With the shortage of skilled medical personnel and resources in outlying rural areas of Africa, Samsung Electronics says its diagnostic medical technology solutions could be the ideal healthcare for impoverished rural areas.
“The need for a reliable and cost effective healthcare system is the driving force behind Samsung Electronics Africa’s endeavours to bring diagnostic medical technology to remote areas and the launch of our telemedicine centres will provide much-needed relief for a large portion of the African population,” says Thierry Boulanger, Director of IT and Business to Business Solutions at Samsung Electronics Africa.
The Samsung telemedicine centres, driven by solar power technology, comprise of four rooms and can provide access to doctors and medical specialists anywhere in the world. With the exception of the cost of data, consumables for the printer and medical equipment, there are no further running costs involved making it not only affordable, but easy to implement.
The first room in the telemedical centre allows the attending staff to compile a full history of the patient and their family, including basic vital signs such as blood pressure – all taken in the room. Qualified nurses will be equipped with Samsung GALAXY Tabs containing a built-in app specifically written for the medical solution. The system will guide the nurse through the processes to make certain that all the relevant information is captured in a specific way to ensure that human error is eliminated. All information is captured digitally is then stored as a patient record in a server within the telemedical centre.
The blood analytical equipment is kept in the second room. With the Samsung in-vitro testing, many diseases can be detected as well as early detection of typical diseases found in many parts across Africa, ensuring that the treatment required will be far more effective. The third room houses ultrasound equipment as well as basic ear and eye testing facilities. With the Samsung ultrasound technology, pre-natal care can be planned for and tumours and cancers can be detected and in the event that a general practitioner (GP) is on site, this room doubles as a consulting room. Should the GP be available on site, the telemedical centre can be used as a full consulting room where even vaccination programs can be carried out.
“Once all the information has been gathered and stored on the Galaxy Tab following the tests, this information can be transmitted very efficiently to remote doctors qualified to analyse the information. These remote doctors can be in country or even based internationally – dependant on the agreements with the respective health authorities. What’s more, the application required by the remote doctors to receive the relevant diagnostics report is based on a web browser, ensuring that no expensive applications need to be purchased,” said Boulanger.
Once the analysis has been completed by the remote doctor, a recommendation can be transmitted back to the rural telemedical centre with the relevant prescription. The patient can now take one trip to the closest medical depot for treatment. Alternatively, if it is serious, an ambulance or further healthcare can be dispatched.
If the remote doctor cannot detect any abnormalities on any of the results transmitted from the rural telemedical centre, a video conference, housed in the fourth room, can be initiated. In this room there is a basic video conferencing facility whereby remotely situated doctors and specialists can ‘examine’ patients remotely, over the internet. “This is an incredible feature as the doctor can do a virtual examination with the presence of the nurse,” Boulanger explains. “The advantage of receiving an early diagnosis on what could be a life threatening disease, virus or condition is invaluable. By reducing the diagnostic period down to mere hours, one is able to identify problems and suggest treatment to alleviate symptoms quickly and expeditiously.”
By Staff Reporter