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       Dr Gonzalo E. Díaz M  - Ultrasound - Telemedicine             

 
     

 

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   Telesonography - Telemedicine - Telematics - eHealth   

We offer consultancy services  aimed to Telemedicine to set up complete solutions, being software just a little piece of it)

Telemedicine as telesonography are very useful tools. Many people lose valuable time -and money, waiting for health services. Many need special and expensive aids to be transported. Many live in remote areas with no easy access to health services. 

Communications high technology and informatics are the solution. A recent term, Telematics (Telecommunications + informatics) evolves, product of the junction of these tools.  

Telesonography, a telemedicine new branch, involves Biomedical Engineering and telematics. It allows us to do remote ultrasound diagnosis. Telesonography satisfies the need for remote access to ultrasound images, still, b/w, color, live and even 3-D images. It also allows remote consultations with physicians and technologists. Let us see three different definitions of telesonography :

a. Telesonography is ultrasound remote diagnosis

b. Telesonography is a technique used to perform ultrasound diagnosis out of electronically transmitted images and related clinical information.

c. Telesonography is a branch of telemedicine that involves the acquisition of digital ultrasound images and related clinical data, their electronic transmission to a remote point, their interpretation by the specialist and the transmission of the interpretation.

Telesonography is mainly used as "a store and forward technology." However, we get better results when including real-time scanning transmission, live consultations and videoconferencing. Real time scanning transmission and videoconferencing can be replaced by automatic 3-D ultrasound scanning and the transmission of "volume data packages."

By the time I am writing this a new opportunity is evolving and we would be able to change and improve the Telemedicine up to unthought levels that I will explain in the near future here.

All the relevant patient information, images and final reports can be easily transmitted. Neither expensive hardware nor software is necessary. Besides, telesonography has helped us to reduce storage costs. Now, with the internet, no more long distance modem communications will be necessary. The Internet2 and further upcoming technologies will ease the telesonography progress .

Telesonography current main applications:
  1. Second opinions
  2. Remote diagnosis
  3. Consultancy
  4. Remote training

Telesonography is a reliable diagnostic utility that saves lives. Ultrasound is the most useful tool to provide a reliable diagnosis most of the time and telesonography widens its possibilities. Quite often you have an ultrasound scanner at hand and a trained person could do the scan. Portable inexpensive machines are widely used. You just need someone to diagnose and telesonography makes the diagnosis available, no matter how far the sonologist is. It is easy to get a suitable communication media: PC and modem.

Example: You are in a rural area in Australia. It is 01:00 a.m. A pregnant woman starts bleeding. She is in her 34th week. The nearest health care center is nearby and both, the ultrasound scanner and the sonographer are available, but the sonologist is not there. There is also a good doctor available. You just need know what is causing her bleeding to solve her problem.

Solution: That is when telesonography comes up: Do the sonogram, capture and save some ultrasound pictures, log on to the Internet, send me an instant message (no long distance fee) which I will receive 35 seconds later. It is 9:00 a.m. here and I am in front of my PC. It takes me eight seconds to log on. Then, 58 seconds later you are receiving a confirmation E-mail from me asking for the sonogram pictures. You send them all (600 KB compressed). It usually takes less than 3 minutes with a 56Kb modem with network congestion. If necessary, we could "talk" or "chat" through the Internet about patients' symptoms, images need, etc.

In case of emergency, you can be receiving the diagnosis 3 minutes later, via the Internet. How long would it take to get a proper diagnosis otherwise? 

Many people can learn how to get good ultrasound pictures (scanning): Physicians, sonographers, nurses, pilots, marines, soldiers, paramedics, police officers, etc. Information for training. I provide this service just to hospitals, clinics, universities, companies, etc

Ways to import ultrasound images to your PC

  1. Directly from the ultrasound scanner
  2. With a capture device (Digital camera, capture board, parallel port device, etc.)
  3. Scanning your hard copies
  4. If you have X-Ray-like images, you can copy them the same way you copy slides

How to send ultrasound images via the Internet

  1. Save your images to a temporary directory as grayscale images. (Captured or imported images might result up to 25% darker but I correct them)
  2. Write down the patient's information into a text file.
  3. Compress your images and text files
  4. Send your compressed file by E-mail, as an attachment

Warning: Check your images before sending them: Compare your digital images with your hard copies. If they look dark (they usually do), increase the brightness, say up to 25%. If they do not look about the same as your hard copies, do not send them. Do not save the changes to your images! People receiving your images will take care of their editing. Check some ultrasound b/w images on this web page to get a good idea.

Telesonography let us detect ectopic pregnancies, gall stones, ascitis, pregnancy, many abdominal tumors, hydrothorax, etc. It might be difficult to detect some special lesion yet but it does not mean the technique is useless. How many have had your sonogram done by the sonologist or radiologists him/herself? Usually, a sonographer does the sonogram and send the images and patient's history to the specialists for him/her to diagnose. There is not really a big difference if we send that data electronically or physically.

They say telemedicine and telesonography are bad or simply they say "it does not work". People always fear their jobs are going to be taken away by machines. But that is just a reason for us to try to be always better than machines. We must know machines before being better than they. We need to learn about new technology. If we don't, we are wasting our intelligence. If we use and know them, we will never be defeated by them. We have the technology to do a better work. Let's do it!

Do you need to set up a remote diagnostic ultrasound service? For a reasonable fee I will help you setting up your service on site (your headquarter). You will save a money and time on physicians' transportation and will be able to provide services  to remote areas. Contact us! (English/Spanish)

We do not sell software

 

 

 

 

 

 

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