Teletrauma, A Precursor to Video EMR?

Posted on May 19, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Neil Versel wrote an interesting piece over on Fierce Mobile healthcare which talks about EMTs and hospitals using technology to facilitate better care for patients. Neil however argues (rightly so) that not many emergency physicians are going to make a diagnosis based on a grainy photo. Then, he goes on to talk about video. Here’s a small section of his article:

Now, imagine if doctors and nurses could provide real medical advice to help EMTs treat patients in transit based on high-quality, two-way live video. That’s exactly what they have been doing in Tucson, AZ, for nearly two years, thanks to a 227-square-mile Wi-Fi grid that covers most of the city. East Baton Rouge Parish, LA, which includes the city of Baton Rouge, recently launched a similar system that eventually will link to seven hospitals across the parish.

Tucson’s University Medical Center saves $5,000 each time it can prevent an unnecessary activation of a Level 1 trauma team and, more importantly, can save lives by providing remote diagnoses and triage and making sure the trauma team is ready while the patient is still in transit. I wrote about this technology in the May issue of Hospitals and Health Networks, but that short piece only tells part of the story.

I just love the fact that hospitals are looking at this. However, I couldn’t help but have my mind drift off into an EMR. I wonder if this same video technology won’t one day be introduced into an EMR. Only makes sense to me. Hard drives are getting bigger. Video technology is getting smaller. One day a doctor won’t need to chart at all. They’ll just have the full video.

Now we just have to ask ourselves if that’s a good or a bad thing for doctors.

UPDATE: I started thinking and seemed to remember having a similar idea before. I thought it was with recorded audio. I did some digging and sure enough back in March of 2006 I wrote about what could be a video EMR. Interesting to think how some things go full circle.