open access

Vol 71, No 2 (2020)
Review article
Published online: 2020-06-27
Submitted: 2020-04-22
Accepted: 2020-06-09
Get Citation

Past, present, and future perspectives of telemedical assistance at sea: a systematic review

Getu Gamo Sagaro, Francesco Amenta
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2020.0018
·
Pubmed: 32604452
·
International Maritime Health 2020;71(2):97-104.

open access

Vol 71, No 2 (2020)
MARITIME MEDICINE Review article
Published online: 2020-06-27
Submitted: 2020-04-22
Accepted: 2020-06-09

Abstract

Background: Telemedicine is an effective technology for evaluating, diagnosing, treating, and providing health care services for remote populations, including seafarers, in case of diseases or accidents on board. Delivery of telemedicine in a maritime environment is not an easy task and, in general, differs from what can be done onshore. The aim of this review is to provides an overview of Telemedical Maritime Assistance Services (TMAS) in Europe by describing the previous and current status in terms of communication technologies as well as the nature of services rendered at sea. Secondly, to discuss the areas needing improvement and future directions to improve the quality of offshore telemedicine services.

Materials and methods: Different databases, including PubMed (Medline), Google Scholar, Scopus, and journal of International Maritime Health, were searched between August 1 and September 15, 2019. Articles only published from 1969 to 2019 were considered. Relevant articles were selected by reviewing keywords, titles, and abstracts initially based on our inclusion and exclusion criteria. We critically reviewed the full-text articles included in this review. Information on the means of communication, telemedicine services, years of publication, and the name of the first author was extracted from selected studies. The quality of the selected studies was assessed using the criteria of the Newcastle-Ottawa scale.

Results: Initially, 135 articles were identified through searching various databases by using keywords, abstracts, and titles. After removing the duplicates, 121 articles remained. Then we performed an independent article assessment and selection based on the selection criteria, which removed an additional 61 studies, leaving 60 papers. Finally, 27 full-text papers left, and we critically reviewed it. In 27 accepted articles, email and telephone were used most often and accounted for 30% (17/57) and 28% (16/57) of all communication links, respectively. Teleconsultation was the most used telemedicine service on board and represented 58.6% (17/29) of accepted papers.

Conclusions: Email and telephone were the principal means of TMAS doctors to provide medical advice as well as assistance for patients at sea. Despite the potential offered by technological progress, there are still many limitations to the provision of adequate medical care at sea. The modernisation of telemedicine services will help decrease the gap in healthcare delivery at sea.

Abstract

Background: Telemedicine is an effective technology for evaluating, diagnosing, treating, and providing health care services for remote populations, including seafarers, in case of diseases or accidents on board. Delivery of telemedicine in a maritime environment is not an easy task and, in general, differs from what can be done onshore. The aim of this review is to provides an overview of Telemedical Maritime Assistance Services (TMAS) in Europe by describing the previous and current status in terms of communication technologies as well as the nature of services rendered at sea. Secondly, to discuss the areas needing improvement and future directions to improve the quality of offshore telemedicine services.

Materials and methods: Different databases, including PubMed (Medline), Google Scholar, Scopus, and journal of International Maritime Health, were searched between August 1 and September 15, 2019. Articles only published from 1969 to 2019 were considered. Relevant articles were selected by reviewing keywords, titles, and abstracts initially based on our inclusion and exclusion criteria. We critically reviewed the full-text articles included in this review. Information on the means of communication, telemedicine services, years of publication, and the name of the first author was extracted from selected studies. The quality of the selected studies was assessed using the criteria of the Newcastle-Ottawa scale.

Results: Initially, 135 articles were identified through searching various databases by using keywords, abstracts, and titles. After removing the duplicates, 121 articles remained. Then we performed an independent article assessment and selection based on the selection criteria, which removed an additional 61 studies, leaving 60 papers. Finally, 27 full-text papers left, and we critically reviewed it. In 27 accepted articles, email and telephone were used most often and accounted for 30% (17/57) and 28% (16/57) of all communication links, respectively. Teleconsultation was the most used telemedicine service on board and represented 58.6% (17/29) of accepted papers.

Conclusions: Email and telephone were the principal means of TMAS doctors to provide medical advice as well as assistance for patients at sea. Despite the potential offered by technological progress, there are still many limitations to the provision of adequate medical care at sea. The modernisation of telemedicine services will help decrease the gap in healthcare delivery at sea.

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Keywords

telemedicine, telemedical maritime assistance service, medical advice, seafarers, teleconsultation, telemonitoring, telemedicine services

About this article
Title

Past, present, and future perspectives of telemedical assistance at sea: a systematic review

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 71, No 2 (2020)

Article type

Review article

Pages

97-104

Published online

2020-06-27

DOI

10.5603/IMH.2020.0018

Pubmed

32604452

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2020;71(2):97-104.

Keywords

telemedicine
telemedical maritime assistance service
medical advice
seafarers
teleconsultation
telemonitoring
telemedicine services

Authors

Getu Gamo Sagaro
Francesco Amenta

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