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J Telemed Telecare. 2009;15(3):118-21. doi: 10.1258/jtt.2009.003004.

Head and neck cancer assessment by flexible endoscopy and telemedicine.

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1
Scottish Centre for Telehealth, Foresterhill Lea, Aberdeen, UK. cathy.dorrian@nhs.net

Abstract

We have conducted a feasibility study to establish whether ENT tele-endoscopy would be a suitable method of service delivery for patients who live in the Shetland Islands. Ten clinics were conducted over a period of 17 months using ISDN-based videoconferencing at a bandwidth of 384 kbit/s. A total of 42 patients were seen in Aberdeen via videoconferencing for a head and neck cancer assessment. Feasibility was confirmed after the first 20 patients, following positive feedback from all concerned and the absence of any significant clinical or technical problems. A total of 42 journeys was avoided, each journey saving 123 kg CO(2) per person. A preliminary cost analysis showed that the threshold at which tele-ENT became cheaper than travel was a workload of 35 patients/year. The actual workload during the pilot study was 29 patients/year. A national telemedicine service for the initial assessment of potential malignancy has the potential to reduce unnecessary transfers to specialist centres, with accompanying reductions in carbon emissions.

PMID:
19364891
DOI:
10.1258/jtt.2009.003004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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