NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., Aug. 9 (UPI) — Oil rig workers and others working in remote locations are relying more on telemedicine “visits” with distant doctors and specialists, health professionals say.
Work on an oil rig can be dangerous, with cuts, sprains, fractures and other injuries not uncommon, and ailments such as respiratory infections, asthma, and heart attack can also pose a serious problem on a rig where access to medical professionals is limited, an article published in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health says.
Oil companies are increasingly Internet or satellite connection technology to link emergency medical technicians working on the oil platform to emergency physicians and specialists at major medical centers.
Medical test results can be relayed in this way, and the use of Web cams or even a photograph relayed from a smartphone are giving doctors a visual look at injuries and an opportunity to assess a patient’s status with their own eyes, experts say.
Telemedicine facilities on oil rigs can include EKG capabilities, a blood pressure monitor, thermometer, pulse taximeter or glucose meter in addition to two-way voice, data and video transmission capabilities.
“As we have seen in the last several months, working on an offshore oil platform is a dangerous job,” said Charles R. Darn, professor of public health sciences and biomedical engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
“Access to healthcare via telemedicine is an excellent application of technology and can save lives and money.”
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