German research university pitches telemedicine as an emergency medical tool


While telemedicine is often hailed as a way to give patients care in the home, it’s also being used to help emergency services treat patients with more information. 

In Germany, research university Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen has zeroed in on helping providers use telehealth in emergency services. Sean O’Sullivan, a researcher at Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen, will be speaking at HIMSS21 about his team’s work in the field. 

“At the end of 2017, we started our research in telemedicine in Emergency Medicine. Having started from scratch, we were able to quickly develop scientifically based solutions and presented these at the opening ceremony of the Telemedicine and E-Health Competence Center in Giessen, Germany in April 2018. By using a simple, but practical and easy-to-integrate approach for our digital health solutions we received a lot of positive feedback.”

Researchers then began to test out the service in various locations and regions. O’Sullivan said that his team saw uses for the technology in emergency departments and emergency medical service vary based on available staff, infrastructure, rural or urban setting and level of expertise of various providers. 

“We focused not on developing new skyrocketing technologies, but, by understanding local medical processes and trying to support current medical pathways digitally, we saw that asking patients, providers and administrators was a better strategic way for developing solutions that can make a relevant difference in the way medicine is being provided,” O’Sullivan said. 

Currently, the researchers are beginning larger trials in different medical settings in order to research which tech works best in what setting and location, as well as who would be the best end users. 

“As these are the relevant questions to understand and develop individual medical solutions while regarding scalability, costs and international application,” he said. 

The focus is getting patients quality care faster and figuring out the best care option for patients. 

“In our trials, we saw that using telemedicine allowed patients and paramedics to connect early with physicians, not only with emergency departments or clinical specialists, but also with local physicians or GPs. This allowed hospitals to focus their capacities on critically ill [patients] that needed hospitalization, while other noncritical patients could stay at home, be treated there, and could be visited by their GP.

“The pandemic showed us that the solutions and ideas we provided were the right ones and the use of such technology can improve treatment.”

Sean O’Sullivan will share more thoughts during his HIMSS21 session, “A Low-Cost Concept for Telemedicine in EMS in Giessen.” It’s scheduled for Tuesday, August 10, 4-5 p.m., in Venetian, San Polo 3404.