Online Medical Care

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Mernin

SOFTWARE developed in the region will give patients in the poorest and most remote parts of the world instant help from medical experts.

For patients here in the UK, a visit to the GP can often lead to a referral to a specialist who is usually available within months, if not weeks, at a nearby hospital.

But in Rwanda, for example, if your doctor advised you to take an X-ray, you may face a trek over several hundreds of miles and a lengthy wait when you get there since there are only two radiologists to serve eight million people. Similarly, in Tanzania, there is a shortage of cancer specialists and - for those who have been diagnosed with the disease whose time is particularly precious - day after day can be wasted as they wait for various medical parties to exchange test results or other information.

Fortunately, thanks to software developed at Sunderland Software City, the problem can now be alleviated through an online portal which puts the world's top medical specialists in direct contact with the GP surgeries which need them most.

Wearside IT firm Heridian, which is still in its first year of operation, has already gained global recognition for its i-Med Portal which gives medical professionals in remote areas access to advice and opinion in any number of medical fields. The technology taps into the increasingly popular technology telemedicine, which has digitalised many of the diagnosis techniques used in the medical world, allowing for global communication to take place in an instant.

Heridian will allow doctors to download its software for free and then charge a small fee for each contact made to an expert listed on its online portal, in the same way a mobile phone bill is charged per usage.

The system is currently being trialled by two parties in South Africa while sales agreements have also been set up in Ethiopia, Jamaica, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Eastern Europe. …