Telemedicine is helping physicians maintain support networks and expand their scope of practice from any location. However, telemedicine in a maritime environment differs from telemedicine onshore in several aspects. This fact necessitates the need for an independent development of maritime telemedicine.

According to international regulating framework for Telemedical Maritime Assistance Service it should be available at any hour of the day or night, free of charge, with an optimum use of facilities available. All ships should carry a list of radio stations and coast earth stations through which medical advice can be obtained; carry a medical guide, as well as the international code of signals. All doctors providing medical advice should receive appropriate training and be aware of shipboard conditions.

The shipping industry is more and more becoming aware of the need for Maritime Telemedicine technology on board of the international fleet. In 1989 Maritime Medical Access provides a vital link to the delivery of appropriate medical care for shipping vessels, aircraft, yachts and teams in remote locations. In July 2003, telemedicine equipment was firstly installed on board a Norwegian passenger ship. Since that the experiences gained with the use of this new technology has led to the rapid development of maritime telemedicine.

Recently, MSC Cruises has become the first cruise line in the world to offer guests a 24/7 multilingual pediatric telemedicine service on board as an addition to other existing services, through a partnership with the Giannina Gaslini Institute in Genoa, Italy, a world-class center of excellence in pediatric medicine.

References:

  1. Monika Puskeppeleit. Improving telemedicine onboard Norwegian ships and drilling platforms. A study of intersectoral co-operation in Maritime Medicine. Nordic School of Public Health. 2013
  2. Emergency Medicine – Maritime. GW Medical Faculty Associates. 2014.
  3. MSC cruises becomes the first ever cruise line to offer 24/7 Pediatric telemedicine service on board.
  4. Alf Magne Horneland. Maritime telemedicine- where to go and what to do. Int Marit Health 2009; 60, 1–2: 36–39.
  5. Philip Mwakio. Cruise liner to offer tele-medicine at sea. 2014.
Date:
Tuesday, August 5, 2014