Telemedicine moves boundaries
The Centre for Innovative Medical Technology (CIMT) researches and tests treatment methods that counter the growing demands on health services and also make it easier to be a patient.
Demographic trends and political demands require that Danish hospitals focus even more on innovation and telemedicine solutions in the coming years.
– It is a fact that the number of senior citizens is growing and with that follows an increasing pressure on the health care system, says medical director Peder Jest, Odense University Hospital.
For the benefit of patients
– If we can use telemedicine for some tasks, then of course we should do it, continues Peder Jest. It means, however, that we must always be able to vouch for the methods we choose.
– We should not use technological solutions just because they exist, but because they will benefit patients. With this in mind, we have established the Centre for Innovative Medical Technology (CIMT), an interdisciplinary initiative under the auspices of the University of Southern Denmark and Odense University Hospital.
– The Centre gives us support and resources to generate evidence for the effect of telemedicine treatment in all areas: organizational, economic, technological and clinical.
Read more about CIMT here: (link: : http://cimt.dk/?lang=en )
National and international Projects
CIMT’s task is to research and test telemedicine treatment approaches via national and international collaborations. This includes managing Mastermind – a tele-psychiatric project that investigates telemedicine solutions for treating depression. The project involves 23 countries.
Web platform for all participants
– We are also moving national boundaries, says Peder Jest. CIMT is currently working on strengthening the cooperation between general practitioners, the hospitals in the region and municipalities in the project ‘Shared Care’.
– This uses a web platform where the participants share information about patients with chronic heart disease. When it is established, we expect a stronger cooperation that in the long run will result in fewer hospitalizations, and should also remove some of the pressure on outpatient clinics.
Peder Jest, Medical Director of Odense University Hospital, is chairman of the Innovation Council, which is the first of its kind in Denmark. The Council is responsible for setting the strategic priorities for CIMT ‘s activities.
From idea to maternity-app
Clinical lecturer Jane Clemensen is the supervisor for several telemedicine projects. Some of these develop because the ward staff come up with a good idea.
– Two years ago, a nurse in the maternity ward wanted to investigate the use of online communication between new parents and staff. The impetus was a new policy that parents to a newborn should be discharged after four to six hours if the birth had been free of complications. However, the experience from the ward was that parents afterwards often rang in with pertinent questions.
Under Jane Clemensen’s supervision, the project developed further using the approach of Participatory Design, where advice is sought from all the involved parties.
– When we had surveyed the wishes and needs of parents, doctors, nurses and midwives, it became clear that an iPad app would be a much better solution. The app contains information in text and videos and provides answers to the family’s typical questions. The app is now being used and has been well received by both staff and parents.
CIMT was established in early 2014 as an interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Southern Denmark and Odense University Hospital. Currently, 15 researchers are working on telemedicine research projects. Some of these projects have connections in Scotland and the regions of Catalonia and Venice, which are leaders in the telemedicine field.