In this age of ever-fancier technology, telemedicine may seem like something for a select few -- people with time, money, know-how, and tools. I can barely make my iphone work half the time, and recording something on TV is a fiasco, so why would telemedicine and medical collaboration be within reach?
The truth is that medical collaboration and telemedicine can be powerfully simple.
In fact, this story about an eHealth project in Haiti shows what we love about telemedicine. Doctors and nurses using technology, passion for their work, and common sense to collaborate across borders and barriers. The spirit of that resonates with us because our telemdicine beginnings were for underserved kids in one of the poorest schools in our state. The purpose of ClickCare is to improve access -- not require it as a prerequisite.
Our tips for doing telemedicine from a mud hut, urban hospital, or anyplace else:
- Include nurses. As this piece points out, nurses are often the last to be consulted -- or trained -- when it comes to telemedicine. But that's a shame because we've found that our most dedicated and savvy users of ClickCare are nurses and nurse practitioners.
- Use what you have and go from there. Even in situations of low or no internet, this program worked because they used what they did have to start... and then built from there. So often, we wait for a "complete implementation" before we begin. Start with baby steps -- even in that means no access to the internet -- and keep walking.
- Remember that people matter more than technology. One of the core benefits of ClickCare is that you can use archived cases as a teaching tool. We developed this benefit because we believe that it's the people we work with -- students, mentors, colleages -- who we can learn the most from. In the same way that the Haiti project focused on individuals forming relationships and learning from each other, that's the basis for the medical collaboration, and teaching, that we believe in, too.