AbstractsMedical & Health Science

Improving telemedicine onboard Norwegian ships and drilling platforms.

by Monika Petra Puskeppeleit

Institution: DIVA
Year: 2008
Keywords: Maritime Telemedicine; Intersectoral Co-Operation; Web-Based Survey; Norway; Medical and Health Sciences; Medicin och hälsovetenskap; MEDICINE; Social medicine; Public health medicine research areas; Public health science; MEDICIN; Socialmedicin; Folkhälsomedicinska forskningsområden; Folkhälsovetenskap
Record ID: 1357365
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:norden:org:diva-3186


<strong>Background</strong>: Using telemedicine to provide health services for seafarers represents a special case of intersectoral co-operation.Since 2006, several North Sea drilling platforms and internationally operating Norwegian merchant ships have usedonboard telemedicine equipment continuously. Experience gained through this new technology has improvedintersectoral co-operation regarding seafarers’ health care. <strong>Aim:</strong> This study aimed to analyze the need for intersectoral co-operation and networking in maritime medicine by usingtelemedicine equipment at sea. Various Norwegian maritime organizations and institutions participated in the study. <strong>Methods</strong>: I conducted a qualitative descriptive survey using a Web-organized interactive interview technique, a new mode ofinteraction based on a semi-structured interview guide for data collection. After conducting exploratory personalinterviews in October 2006, I developed a Web-based questionnaire comprising 53 questions. Participants receivedan e-mail invitation containing an online link to an Internet-based questionnaire. Individuals unable to use the Webbasedlink could return the completed questionnaire as an e-mail attachment. I collected data between April and June2007 and evaluated some questions according to the principles of content analysis and others with simple quantitative analysis, e.g., frequency and distribution. <strong>Results</strong>: Among 33 persons contacted, 31 (94%) agreed to participate in the study. Respondents represented 11 variousmaritime organizations and companies. Fourteen worked as maritime officers, nine as maritime managers, and eightas medical professionals. Importantly, fourteen respondents (45%) had demonstrated practical working experiencewith telemedicine at sea. According to content analysis, the following categories were developed: communicationandevidence-based telemedicine; maritime e-health standardization and knowledge management; improvingtelemedicine quality management; organizational, technical, and medical competences and intersectoral approach;technical standardization and networking; and communication and information. Four main categories illuminated theparticipants’ demands, i.e., information, communication, standardization, and centralization, and led to thedevelopment of national e-health policy and strategy to support the Norwegian maritime e-health society vianetworking and intersectoral co-operation. <strong>Conclusions</strong>: Intersectoral co-operation in maritime telemedicine requires interorganizational networking in order to introduceeffective and compatible international maritime e-health standards for seafarers’ healthcare. The Norwegian Centrefor Maritime Medicine (NCMM), a Centre of Excellence in maritime medical research, will participate importantlyin this process. The study also showed that a Web-based survey in maritime research offers an easily managedresearch tool that quickly yields a very good overview of a special situation.