TeleVital low bandwidth telemedicine technology used in remote surgery monitoring

Milpitas 20 December 2002TeleVital enables MITAC, a NASA-funded research programme with telemedicine software for monitoring remote surgeries in remote locations. On December 9th and 10th of 2002, utilising a single 64Kbps satellite connection along with TeleVital's low bandwidth telemedicine software, numerous remote surgeries in a small village in Sucua, Ecuador were monitored and mentored from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.

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TeleVital's browser-based telemedicine software allowed physicians to transmit in real time, audio, video, EKG, oximetry (Sp02), pulse, respiration rate, and capnometry (ETC02). All these signals were simultaneously transmitted from MITAC's Rapidly Deployable Telemedicine Unit with a standard laptop to Virginia more than 3000 miles away. Dr. Lynne Gehr, the anaesthesiologist at the remote end, was able to monitor, supervise, and verbally communicate details about the patient's condition during surgery performed by MITAC Director, Dr. Ronald Merrell.

"The quality of the video and audio was absolutely amazing considering the bandwidth we were dealing with at the same time as the vital signs were being sent. Both days, we dealt with various technical, logistical, and environmental issues, but once we had solid satellite data transfer and video feeds, the TeleVital component performed flawlessly for hours on end", stated Nathaniel Marriam, "Media Director" of MITAC.

We did almost nine hours of live anaesthesia monitoring including vitals and audio/video on December 9, and another three hours of urology monitoring consisting of audio/video only on December 10, without the slightest hiccup in performance", explained Nathaniel Marriam. "The development of TeleVital's low bandwidth telemedicine technology brings the ability to reach out to medically and economically disadvantaged countries which lack medical goods and services", stated Kishore Kumar, president of TeleVital Inc.

The development of the low bandwidth technology compared with the more traditional high bandwidth enables the use of telemedicine facilities even in areas with poor telecommunication facilities. While low bandwidth operates on a normal telephone line, high bandwidth needs ISDN or broadband lines that are extremely hard to come by in developing countries.

Even in the United States many rural communities lack extensive financial resources and high bandwidth digital transmission capabilities. Today, almost one fourth of the entire United States population lives in rural areas, while only 9 percent of U.S. physicians are actually practising in these locations.

TeleVital specialises in real time low bandwidth as well as broadband telemedicine solutions enabling medical care to be delivered to and from any location in the world including ambulances, airplanes, cruise ships, etc. TeleVital's software provides the infrastructure that allows for real time data streaming over the Internet, using its proprietary real time browser-based software engine, VitalWeb. TeleVital provides a fully managed connectivity solution that will securely link the health care community, and ensure security and confidentiality.


Leslie Versweyveld

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