New regulations drive telemedicine on board

Sep 23 2016

Marlink has launched XChange Telemed, a new telemedicine service designed to improve the health and safety of crew at sea, while meeting new ILO/MLC and IMO/STCW labour regulations for health and medical treatment on board.

XChange Telemed provides a cost-effective way for shipping companies to manage both regular and emergency medical consultations for the welfare of crew, thereby supporting the medical health of seafarers and reducing the risk of spiralling costs incurred due to medical emergencies on board.

It is an integrated solution that delivers instant remote medical support to vessels by doctors on shore. To ensure that seafarers receive fast, effective and interactive medical attention, the service includes a reinforced, vibration-proof hard-case with CE certified medical equipment, an intuitive touch-screen user interface and a HD camera.

Medical equipment provided includes electro cardiograph, blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter and one or several of the following options: Otoscope, dermascope, stethoscope, glucometer and thermometer. Clear instructions and reference diagrams are enclosed to assist the remote user with data capture, viewing and sending.

Using Marlink’s global multi-band Sealink VSAT services, XChange Telemed facilitates live video medical consultations 24/7 on board and provides doctors onshore with full, secure web portal access to patient medical data, according to the strictest European medical authority standards.

For the first time in a maritime telemedicine service, customers can choose between using remote medical assistance from compatible public Telemedical Maritime Assistance Service (TMAS) centres, an appointed doctor or a private medical organisation.

According to an article published in ‘International Maritime Health, the average cost of a vessel re-routing due to an emergency is about $180,000. Using XChange Telemed, unnecessary diversions or helicopter evacuations could be avoided by treating crew illnesses and injuries on board with frequent follow-up by the remote doctor. While reducing down time and improving comfort for a sick or injured person on board, the service also provides traceability of the performed actions.

XChange Telemed requires no up-front investment. To ensure service continuity, hardware and software maintenance is included as part of the service.

“XChange Telemed is a complete, fully managed telemedicine service that significantly improves and facilitates remote medical consultation by providing an integrated hardware and communications platform to enable a direct, real-time link to professionals on shore,” said Tore Morten Olsen, Maritime president, Marlink. “Supporting the health of passengers and crew is vital, but in choosing XChange Telemed on our global Sealink services, shipping companies can also meet new regulations and improve insurance processes, while reducing the potential for significant unplanned costs that may arise due to medical emergencies at sea.”

Data can be kept on each individual case, enabling shipowners and crewing agencies to tap into the health of their seafarers.

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