MedVizer's interactive tele-capacities highly valued in paediatric echocardiography and cancer diagnosis

McLean 04 June 2001Exciting strides are being made in paediatric tele-cardiography through the partnership of Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, DC with the telemedicine, telehealth and e-health integration service and development company ViTel Net Inc. In addition, the State of South Carolina has awarded ViTel Net, which is the acronym for Visual Telecommunications Network, with the implementation of a comprehensive Telemedicine System for the Medical University of South Carolina's (MUSC) Hollings Cancer Center.

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Excellent results obtained from over 600 neonatal sessions using ViTel Net's MedVizer tele-echocardiography product, establishes ViTel Net's technology as a solution for improved cardiac care for sick children. Dr. Craig Sable stated: "With the MedVizer tele-echocardiography product, we have a tool which lets us be there to help. The value of this system is exceeding our expectations for improved care of the children we serve."

The paediatric version of ViTel Net's MedVizer tele-echocardiography system was designed in collaboration with paediatric cardiologists practising at CNMC and has demonstrated its effectiveness for paediatric applications over the past three years. More than 600 telemedicine transmissions have been performed in the first three years of the programme. Currently, there are ten to twelve telemedicine transmissions each week. Subsequent review of the videotape copy confirmed the telemedicine diagnosis in all cases.

Dr. Sable presented the results of his telemedicine study in a Poster Session at the American Telemedicine Association's 2001 Annual Conference. Of the cases cited above, critical heart disease was diagnosed in twelve patients and non-critical heart disease in more than 200 patients. A change in the patient management or outpatient follow-up resulted in over half of the telemedicine transmissions.

Nineteen patients were transported to the Children's National Medical Center for potentially life-saving surgery. Transport was cancelled in 15 critically ill patients with non-cardiac diagnoses that could be managed at the referring hospital. Immediate access to telemedicine allowed heart disease to be ruled out in these patients, thus eliminating the need for expensive transport and reducing family stress. In addition, cost savings that were realised included an average of 4.2 person-hours per week and an overall annual revenue increase of in excess of one million dollars.

The system is intended to meet the clinical practice requirements as well as streamline the work flow of busy cardiac specialists. Key features of the MedVizer tele-echocardiography solution include capabilities for transferring and displaying diagnostic-quality echo-cardiographs enabling cardiologists to remotely diagnose or exclude heart disease in infants, children, and adults, especially those who would not otherwise have immediate access to cardiac speciality care.

The MedVizer tele-echocardiography tool also gives consulting cardiologists the ability to digitise the incoming video stream into high quality MPEG files which can be only one heartbeat or several minutes long. This revolutionary development is unique to MedVizer and allows the paediatric cardiologist to have a permanent record that includes a digital copy of the echocardiogram on file instantly. As Dr. Craig Sable explained: "The image quality is equal or superior to videotape, yet the files are small enough to allow storage of several hundred studies on currently available computers."

ViTel Net's MedVizer telemedicine solution will equally allow primary care physicians, non-physician practitioners, specialists, and monitoring nurses at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to interactively examine, diagnose, and initiate treatment for patients at remote locations via video-conferencing, Internet store-and-forward, and/or through standard Internet Web browsers. The MedVizer system will also be utilised in an interactive weekly Tumour Board teleconference which will take place at the Hollings Cancer Center. The system will provide physicians in attendance to converse real time with the presenting physicians at the remote locations.

"This project is particularly important to ViTel Net", according to Allen Izadpanah, president and CEO, "as it offers us the opportunity to employ our full range of products and capabilities on one single project, thus showing our strength as an enterprise-wide telemedicine solution provider. ViTel Net's solution will provide for the acquisition, transmission, display, and permanent archiving of patients files that will include diagnostic quality radiographs, CT scans, MRI, endoscopy images, digitised films and pathology images. Our solution will deliver the interface to the Center's proprietary x-ray diagnostic system enabling those images to be transformed to an open system architecture for display on any type of Windows-based system. We will employ our MedVizer PACS Gateway for retrieval and entry of medical diagnostic images."

The MedVizer Postmaster, an unattended message exchange and distribution server, will receive, manage, file, and distribute the medical information. By utilising a standard Web browser to access the MedVizer.COM Web server, authenticated health care providers will be able to view and share medical information including DICOM images through ViTel Net's secure Enterprise information exchange any time and anywhere. "In addition, we will deliver these same images, using our CE based Personal Digital Assistance (PDA) to the Hollings Cancer Center doctors wherever they may be located, thus providing PACS to Pocket PC solutions", added Mr. Izadpanah.

MUSC's Hollings Cancer Center required a telemedicine solution that would meet today's health care requirements, as well as support the transition into the future when Web-based telemedicine is a reality. The solution must also enable the continued use of legacy-based informatics systems. ViTel Net's scalable, cross-platform, open architecture MedVizer software provides that solution, linking the past with the present and preparing the MUSC health care providers for the transition to the future. More information about the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center can be found at the MUSC web site. More information about the MedVizer solution is available in the VMW August 2000 article ViTel Net awarded contract for Costa Rica Telemedicine Network Project.


Leslie Versweyveld

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