A PROSPECTIVE INVESTIGATION OF THE IMPACT OF TELEMEDICINE AND TELEMETRY ON GLOBAL MEDICAL EVACUATION RATES
I.R. Stilz1, M. Freire de Carvalho2, S. Toner3, H. Berg4
1Shell Occupational Health Services, London, UK
2Shell International, Houston USA
3Johnson and Johnson, The Netherlands
4Shell International, The Hague, The Netherlands
Telemedicine is increasingly used to enhance medical care provision in a range of health care settings, including populations in rural or remote locations. Oil and Gas companies operate in remote locations offshore and treatment for many emergencies requires medical evacuation, with possible health, occupational and economic impacts. This study examines if the availability of telemedicine on offshore installations reduces the need for emergency evacuations.
This is a prospective Cohort study on offshore platforms with and without telemedicine in the United States (US), Malaysia (MY) and the United Kingdom (UK). Emergency evacuation rates were compared between locations with telemedicine (US) and two control groups without telemedicine (MY and UK). Demographic characteristics were used for adjusted analysis.
A total of 645 cases were studied, 384 in the telemedicine group and 261 in the control groups. In both unadjusted and adjusted analyses, the odds of medical evacuation were significantly higher for assets without telemedicine, contractors, and individuals over the age of 60. A detailed analysis of final disposition (medical evacuation, routine transport, remaining on location) indicated a possible shift from emergency evacuation to routine transport for the telemedicine group.
Telemedicine is effective in reducing emergency medical evacuations from offshore installations. The reduced evacuation rate is likely due to an increased capacity for transforming emergency care into routine care on the offshore platform. Telemedicine in offshore locations is likely to have health benefits for the individual, and economic benefits for the operator through saved evacuation costs and productivity losses.