The use of telemedicine to aid in assessing patients prior to aeromedical retrieval to a tertiary referral centre

Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare
Kate A MathewsJeremy Furyk


We evaluated the effect of telemedicine compared with traditional telephone conversations when evaluating patients for aeromedical retrieval. A convenience sample of consecutive patients referred for retrieval from Palm Island over a six-month period was compared retrospectively with patients referred during the previous six months. There was a significant difference (P = 0.014) in the number of patients referred in the telemedicine period (113) compared to the previous six months (78), which may have been a seasonal fluctuation. There was a smaller proportion of aeromedical retrievals in the telemedicine period (78%) compared to the control period (92%), P = 0.009. Other significant differences between the telemedicine and control period included a larger proportion of patients not transferred at all (16% compared to 5%, P = 0.022) and a smaller percentage of rotary flights (52% compared with 73%, P = 0.004). Retrieval coordinators perceived that telemedicine use prevented 10 aeromedical flights and six night flights. The coordinators and referrers felt that telemedicine improved patient care in 75% and 65% of consultations, respectively. The coordinators felt that it improved communication with the referring doctor for 84% of...Continue Reading


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