The term “telemedicine” sounds like something complicated, yet the work of may be as simply done as two health professionals discussing a case over the telephone. The extent of this nuance does not however end there, as more complex materials may be utilized. Satellite technology and video-conferencing have found their way into the field of medicince and it is the patients who stand to gain the most from this exciting expertise. The equipment is used to conduct real-time consultations between medical specialists in two or more different countries. Practically speaking, telemedicine offers physicians in need of expert assistance an opportunity to consult other physicians with more skills and/or resources. Doctors may submit inquiries, along with patient X-rays, other imaging studies, actual pictures and/or microscopic images via internet connection or special phone lines. The partnering physician usually provides advice to the consulting physician that may potentially pose significant changes to the treatment plan, hopefully resulting in better outcomes for patients.
Message to patients
We strive to 'Empower Patients with Knowledge' as it is the right of any patient to have a second opinion. Patients should be advocates of telemedicine; this is particularly important for cancer patients. Our recommendation to all patients: you need to ask your treating physician if he/she is using telemedicine.
The telemedicine committee at KHCC was established in December 2006 by D/G Dr. Mahmoud Sarhan, who appointed an oncologist as leader of this committee. The committee includes 8 hard working members representing all departments of the center. They have begun paving the way for future projects in telemedicine. While the necessary equipment was available at KHCC, adjustments needed to be made to decrease the cost of connections and link different facilities. The potential to stream live videos of surgeries at KHCC to the blue auditorium and through VoIP, to overseas institutions was one of this committee’s first achievements. A fully equipped telesynergy unit exists at KHCC and is ready to project real-time microscopic images of pathology materials along with high resolution radiology studies. This technology, which is available only at selected centers worldwide, can provide full assessments of selected patients to colleagues in collaborating institutions. In this way, validation of diagnosis, staging and treatment plans can be discussed with a team of experts instantaneously.
1- Orbis: An online tool that enables ophthalmologists to send special consultations that include high resolution images of the eye: including Ultrasonographic images, MRI images and images of the retina taken by a special camera (RetCam). This technology has been in use since 2003, for patients with eye tumors—specifically those with retinoblastoma. Orbis use has been instrumental in improving results at KHCC so poignantly, that outcomes for KHCC retinoblastoma patients are now similar to those at the best international centers.
2- Horizon Live: A free online tool provided by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital via their educational website: www.cure4kids.org. This tool is used by pediatric oncologists to review challenging cases of bone tumors, solid tumors, leukemia and lymphoma. Regular meetings have been taking place since July of 2005 and have already had a major impact on patients treated at KHCC.
3- Telemedicine unit: The most practical way to organize meetings. Beginning in the fall of 2004, oncologists, radiologists and neurosurgeons from KHCC and Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada have been conducting regular meetings to discuss challenging cases of patients with brain tumors. Telemedicine has also had a major impact on the level of care provided for children with brain tumors at KHCC.
1- Providing access to state-of-the-art medicine for all patients diagnosed with cancer in Jordan, including those treated at other institutions.
2- Spreading the philosophy of telemedicine nationwide to encompass other specialties including cardiology, critical care, radiology, immunology and those outside of cancer care.
3- Providing assistance to countries in the region through telemedicine by providing expertise and thereby improving the level of care provided to patients with cancer.
The expensive cost of the necessary unit equipment has dropped significantly, making successful connections more practical. To establish a reliable link, high speed internet and a computer equipped with a microphone and speakers are the minimal requirements to run an online meeting (e.g., Horizon Live). For more functionality, a telemedicine unit can be purchased and connected to the internet through VoIP protocols. This should lead to an excellent connection at an acceptable cost. The required pieces of equipment are listed in this document (PDF).
To send requests, please use the contact us page and click on the 'telemedicine unit' link.