Telemedicine Network for Early Diagnosis and Care of Heart Malformations
Health cooperation with Balkan Countries in pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery was the objective of the joint project involving the staff of pediatric division at G.Pasquinucci Heart Hospital in Massa (G.Monasterio Tuscany Foundation) and the voluntary Association “Un cuore un mondo”. Since 2008 the Tuscany Region supported this initiative, which was aimed at collaborative diagnosis and care of congenital heart malformations. A multi-center telemedicine network was developed interconnecting through Internet the Heart Hospital in Massa with selected pediatric and gynecology centers of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Romania. Tele-echocardiography was implemented for transmitting on-line diagnostic images. Patients with critical defects, assisted by volunteers of “Un Cuore un Mondo” association, were transferred to Massa for adequate care and/or intervention as well as before delivery in case of fetus malformations. The achievements of the Balkan experience have promoted the development of a new project in the Tuscany region to provide neonatology/prenatal units with teleconsultation service in congenital heart malformations. On the technical side, videoconferencing technologies were applied for tele-echocardiography and Open-Source solutions were experimented to set up low-cost devices implementing both live and store-and-forward tele-consulting.
KeywordsTelemedicine Congenital Heart Malformations Tele-echocardiography Second opinion diagnosis Health-care cooperation
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