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What is Tele-emergency?

Tele-emergency is a healthcare service that is available for people where there is no availability of medical emergency services such as mountains, rural areas, etc.

Tele-emergency is a component of telehealth used in case of health emergencies. It consists of diagnosis, treatment, assessment, monitoring, communication and education of medical conditions via digital technology such as videoconferencing. With the help of telehealth important medical services can be delivered where they are needed most and remove barriers of time, distance and limited health care providers in rural areas and medically underserved urban communities. Tele-emergency is given for patient coming with life-threatening symptoms such as:

  • Bleeding that will not stop
  • Breathing problems (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath)
  • Chest pain
  • Choking
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Feeling of committing suicide or murder
  • Head or spine injury
  • Sudden injury due to a motor vehicle accident, burns or smoke inhalation, near drowning, deep or large wound, or other injuries
  • Sudden, severe pain anywhere in the body
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or change in vision
  • Swallowing a poisonous substance
  • Severe abdominal pain or pressure
  • Change in mental status (such as unusual behavior, confusion, difficulty arousing)

Tele-emergency can help the patient through digital communication and provide the right care at the right time and in the right place.

Regional hospitals and community health centers are converted into tele-emergency centers and are connected to the state-of-art-emergency department at Apollo’s main hospital. At any time, clinical staff members can press a button at the remote hospital for immediate audio/ video connection to the tele-emergency hub. The average time for an emergency tele-consultant was less than 12 minutes.

Many participants felt that tele-emergency improves clinical quality, expands the care team, increases resources during critical events, shortens time to care, improves coordination, promotes patient-centered care, improves the recruitment of family physicians, and stabilizes the rural hospital patient base.

Telehealth is mostly implemented in radiology departments, emergency or trauma care departments, and cardiology, stroke, or heart attack programs. Telehealth in radiology departments predominantly involves transmitting images such as magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scans to radiologists at a distant site for reading and consultation. In contrast, telehealth services in emergency or trauma care departments and cardiology, stroke, or heart attack programs employ a wide range of information and communication technologies that are used by a variety of health care professionals.

The tele-emergency care connects clinicians in ways that expand the team of providers caring for a patient at a time of crisis; it improves clinical quality and patients’ confidence in the treatment given. Patients are also likely to feel that they need not travel far from their local support network for health care. Telehealth establishes connections between clinicians, patients and distant providers, which creates the possibility of integrated care within regional delivery systems.

If the potential of telehealth technology is realized, it will be integral to transforming the delivery system in ways that are consistent with an emphasis on increasing value and reducing the financial cost of healthcare.

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