A review of the first year's experience with an automatic message-routing system for low-cost telemedicine

Swinfen, P., Swinfen, R., Youngberry, K. and Wootton, R. (2003) A review of the first year's experience with an automatic message-routing system for low-cost telemedicine. Journal of Telemedicine And Telecare, 9 Supp 2: S63-S65.


Author Swinfen, P.
Swinfen, R.
Youngberry, K.
Wootton, R.
Title A review of the first year's experience with an automatic message-routing system for low-cost telemedicine
Journal name Journal of Telemedicine And Telecare   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1357-633X
Publication date 2003
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 9
Issue Supp 2
Start page S63
End page S65
Total pages 3
Editor Prof Richard Wootton
Place of publication London
Publisher Royal Society of Medicine
Collection year 2003
Language eng
Subject C1
329999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
730199 Clinical health not specific to particular organs, diseases and conditions
Abstract The Swinfen Charitable Trust has used email for some years as a low-cost telemedicine medium to provide consultant support for doctors in developing countries. A scalable, automatic message-routing system was constructed which automates many of the tasks involved in message handling. During the first 12 months of its use, 1510 messages were processed automatically. There were 128 referrals from 18 hospitals in nine countries. Of these 128 queries, 89 (70%) were replied to within 72 h; the median delay was 1.1 day. The 39 unanswered queries were sent to backup specialists for reply and 36 of them (92%) were replied to within 72 h. In the remaining three cases, a second-line (backup) specialist was required. The referrals were handled by 54 volunteer specialists from a panel of over 70. Two system operators, located 10 time zones apart, managed the system. The median time from receipt of a new referral to its allocation to a specialist was 0.2 days (interquartile range, IQR, 0.1-0.8). The median interval between receipt of a new referral and first reply was 2.6 days (IQR 0.8-5.9). Automatic message handling solves many of the problems of manual email telemedicine systems and represents a potentially scalable way of doing low-cost telemedicine in the developing world.
Keyword Telehealth
Health Care Sciences & Services
Q-Index Code C1

 
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