Monday, September 2, 2013

Telemedicine to deliver health care

If you've not yet heard of telemedicine or think that it's not a great way to deliver quality health care, you may want to read this.

Telemedicine, made possible by the availability of mobile networks, is revolutionizing health care. But not in the U.S.

You have to look to India, where telemedicine is already widely used in the delivery of health care — and is saving lives even in the most rural corners of the country.

It is especially used in peritoneal dialysis (PD), a key treatment option for patients with severe and chronic kidney disease, so-called end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Under this procedure, fluid is introduced through a permanent tube in the abdomen, and flushed out either every night while the patient sleeps, or via regular exchanges throughout the day.

It is home-based care. The alternative treatment is hemodialysis (HD). Compared to HD, the primary advantage of PD is the ability to deliver treatment without visiting a hospital; it is thus more cost-effective.

The primary disadvantage is that it can cause complications due to infections, since PD permanently attaches a tube to the abdomen.

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