Polycom Brings Remote Health Care to South Pole Researchers
A telemedicine network at the University of Texas Medical Branch is using Polycom's RealPresence platform to enable video consultations between researchers near the South Pole and remote doctors.Polycom has announced an effort by the University of Texas Medical Branch to bring remote medical aid to researchers working in Antarctica near the South Pole. UTMB is using Polycom's RMX 2000 real-time media conference system, which is part of the company's RealPresence Platform, to run a telemedicine network with 110,000 face-to-face patient consultations and interactions per year, Polycom reported. The RMX 2000 allows off-site doctors and patients located at the South Pole to hold remote consultations over a secure video connection. On-demand sessions allow patients to consult with multiple providers, Ron Emerson, global director of health care for Polycom, told eWEEK in an email.
"Some consultations are not just between one provider and the patient, but require the ability to bring together multiple providers from a variety of locations into one call," said Emerson.
cardiac ultrasounds to be easily plugged into them so the images can be
transferred through the video feed from any location," he said. A doctor in Galveston, Texas, could view a live stream of a patient's cardiac ultrasound taking place at the South Pole, Emerson explained. In August a cardiologist was able to remotely direct a cardiac ultrasound to save a patient's life. "We're not set up to do general anesthesia and surgery, but this was a notable exception," said Parazynski. "We were lucky to have a surgeon there and to be able to direct the anesthesia over the Polycom video system; it was pretty remarkable." As residents of the outposts cope with six months of darkness, remote psychologists are called on to provide help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or winter depression. "We've got a fairly active peer-counseling network down there, but there are occasions when we use psychology colleagues to help with these issues," said Parazynski.