Momentum telemedicine service descriptions
Objectives, expected outcomes, main beneficiaries
The aim of the service is to deliver good quality service to patients with kidney failure living in areas without nephrologists (medical doctors who are specialists in kidney care). The University Hospital of Tromsø has video conference contact with all units in their area of responsibility which provide dialysis to patients but do not have a nephrologist onsite.
This service has been in routine use for more than ten years. The health personnel say that the service increases the security, the quality and the patients’ safety. There is no updated information about cost-savings: this is simply the way that the service works.
The main beneficiaries are: patients, healthcare professionals, healthcare provider organisation, and the health authority.
Targeted population, number of patients
The category of patient targeted by the service is patients undergoing a specific treatment. The targeted population of the service is patients with kidney failure who need regularly haemodialysis.
The number of patients who receive the teledialysis service each month varies depending on the need at any given time. At the end of 2010, there were 1,218 dialysis patients in Norway.
Type of telemedicine service
Teledialysis falls mainly in the category of administrative meetings/video-conference meetings, but it also has other elements that lie in categories such as diagnostics, education/training, advice, and dialogue with patients.
The relationship between key actors in the service is primary care/secondary care and the patient.
Set-up that was being replaced
The conventional treatment would be local treatment without telemedicine support.
Outcomes and results expected after introduction
Telemedicine service improves the quality of the service and secure best practice. It also increases the competence of the local health personnel. At the University Hospital of North Norway (UNN), the staff feel more secure when they give advice via videoconference. This means of cooperation also links UNN and the remote sites more closely into one common workplace.
As mentioned before, the health personnel say that the service increases the security, the quality and the patients’ safety and satisfaction. The service was evaluated as a part of the project ten years ago, but the routine service has not been subject to scientific evaluation and assessment since then.
Patients receive haemodialysis in their local health institution supervised by a nurse and sometimes also by a nephrologist from the University Hospital of North Norway (UNN) via video conferencing (as part of the doctor’s round). The nephrologist participates only in video conferencing to those units where they do not visit or when their expertise is needed due to the patient’s condition. If necessary they solve patient problems by phone. UNN is the unit that is responsible for the treatment of dialysis patients in its area. Hence, UNN uses videoconferencing technology to communicate with remote hospitals, health centres and wards without nephrologists, but that still provide dialysis. At UNN both specialists and nurses participate in providing the service (sometimes, it is only nurses), and at the local hospital/health care centres there are both nurses and patients.
Teledialysis is operational and part of the mainstream health service.
For more information contact Eli Arild (eli.arild at telemed.no) or Rita Irene Johansen (rita.irene.johansen at unn.no) via email.
© Momentum 2013