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Monday, November 10, 2008

Telepaediatric Robot

eHealth, telemedicine, telecare, telehealth are new terms describing different aspects of ICT applications in healthcare. Today there are many users groups with different backgrounds and special needs involved in the development and use of ICT solutions for healthcare, prevention and wellness. eHealth is an interdisciplinary field in the intersection of a number of different competences as e.g. medicine and caring sciences, medical informatics and engineering, psychology, social sciences, economics, ethics and law. Telehealth is about delivery of health services at a distance, using a range of communication techniques, such as email, videoconferencing and the Internet. Telecare is about delivery of health services to patients in their own home including electronic monitoring and supervision of patients.

One of the leading eHealth Centres in the world is The Centre for Online Health at the University of Queensland. COH is one of very few research and teaching centres in the world which focus on the evaluation of telehealth for the delivery of health services. Specific areas of expertise include telepaediatrics, teledermatology, and tele-homecare. Current areas of interest include ENT, home palliative care, neurology, retinal screening, automatic email message handling and tele-geriatrics.

The COH has developed a telemedicine system which is mobile and wireless, allowing the unit to be easily transported directly to the bedside of patients when a specialist consultation is required. To suit the context of this application (i.e. paediatrics) the mobile units have been built in the shape of an telepaediatric robot. The robot provides general paediatric support for hospitals without a local paediatrician and/or sub-specialist paediatric support and professional education and support for regional clinicians.

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