Telemedicine - the use of technology to deliver medical services to the point of need - is tipped to drastically reduce patient waiting times and revolutionise the delivery of healthcare around the world. Two Australian chiropractors are leading the charge by setting up an innovative teleradiology service.
Dr Peter Bull and Dr Ray Hayek, who have a combined chiropractic experience of 50 years, are senior academics and chiropractors at Macquarie University. They have established a spin-off company called Image Connections Australasia (ICA) which will provide an end-to-end teleradiology solution for chiropractors based anywhere in the country leading to faster, cheaper and more professional chiropractic care for patients.
"This company's core value is bringing turnkey teleradiology solutions so a patient is not inconvenienced when they need immediate management care," says Hayek. "For example, a patient who comes in with a wry neck or acute lower back pain may currently be referred to another medical centre to get their X-rays, and there goes another day or two to get their images done, while they're in more and more pain. Healthcare is all about response rates and we need to enable the chiropractor to use everything at their disposal to respond much faster to the patient."
Chiropractors who join ICA will purchase a system which will take the X-ray and then allow a digitised image to be sent electronically. This enables a radiologist in a major city to log on, view the image, write a report, and then send this information back to the chiropractor electronically so they can relay it to the patient.
As well as major time savings, the improved process has a number of cost, health and patient management advantages for both patient and chiropractor. Another major benefit to the worldwide community will be the development of the first ever centralised database of X-ray images. Patients who sign a consent form will have their X-rays stored on a database (separately from their personal details to ensure anonymity) which will allow a new Centre for Spinal and Medical Imaging at Macquarie University to perform future research on common chiropractic conditions and their management.
"Telemedicine, which includes teleradiology, is the future of patient management worldwide," says Bull. "This spin-off has allowed Macquarie University to participate at the earliest level in this process. The database that we will establish as a result of this spin-off will become potentially one of the most significant research tools, both from a scientific point of view but also in terms of proper patient management, so we're very excited."
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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