Vol 66, No 1 (2015)
Published online: 2015-03-19

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Telemedicine at sea and onshore: divergences and convergences

Matthieu J. Guitton
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2015.0005
Pubmed: 25792161
IMH 2015;66(1):18-21.


Background: Telemedical Maritime Assistance Service (TMAS) is one of the fundamental components of medical assistance delivery at sea. However, while onshore telemedicine is undergoing a fast growth, these research and clinical investments unfortunately did not yet benefit for telemedicine at sea.

Divergences between telemedicine at sea and onshore: While telemedicine aims at providing distant health care, telemedicine at sea and onshore bear major differences, particularly for merchant vessels, and to a lesser extent for passenger vessels, which can be divided between structural differences, differences of practices, and policy differences.

Convergences between telemedicine at sea and onshore: Despite the existence of important divergences between telemedicine at sea and telemedicine onshore, these two major branches of distant health care delivery still converge in some respects.

Conclusions: Identifying the convergences between telemedicine at sea and telemedicine onshore might contribute to increase and optimise the transfer from research on onshore telemedicine to maritime telemedicine, and to overcome the relatively low amount of research performed on telemedicine at sea compared to its onshore counterpart.