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Defence Medical Services telemedicine now: a successful pilot of video consultations and instant messaging support to firm base training
  1. Amritpal Sandhu1,
  2. O Bartels2,
  3. R J Booker3 and
  4. N Aye Maung4
  1. 1Royal Army Medical Corps, Aldershot, UK
  2. 2SO1 Projects, Medical Information Systems, Joint Medical Group, London, UK
  3. 33 Medical Regiment Senior Medical Officer and Project LARA Forward Instant Messaging Trial Lead, Preston, UK
  4. 4MOD A Block, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr Amritpal Sandhu, Royal Army Medical Corps, Aldershot, UK; amritpal.sandhu{at}hotmail.com

Abstract

Introduction: Telemedicine was pioneered in the Defence Medical Services (DMS) in 1998, since then the capabilities within the DMS have not advanced in step with advances in technology. We present our findings of a pilot of remote video consultation via Skype for MODNET during an arduous course held in the UK. Method: Combat medical technician sick parades were live streamed via Skype to a Defence Primary Healthcare Medical Centre and medical officer (MO) support was delivered remotely. This process was augmented by the use of Pando for still images of wounds and infection sites in order to enhance decision making and situational awareness. Results: Over a 3-week period, 34 consultations carried out during sick parade required the input from a remote MO, of those 34% required a prescription from an MO. None of the presentations required a face-to-face consultation, and all patients received MO-led care remotely. Conclusion: We have successfully demonstrated that video telemedicine consultations are safe, while simultaneously improving patient care, augmenting the distribution of medical assets and reducing costs.

  • primary care
  • telemedicine
  • musculoskeletal disorders

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Footnotes

  • Contributors AS, OB, RJB and NAM contributed to conception and intellectual content. AS led the initial drafting with input from OB, RJB and NAM. Critical appraisal and manuscript revisions were made by all authors. The final manuscript was approved by all authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests AS: GDMO Lead Project LARA trial of Army Medical Services medical instant messaging. RJB: running Project LARA trial of Army Medical Services medical instant messaging. OB: lead for Project LARA-DMS Telemedicine development. NAM: medical director for a telemedicine company.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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