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Defining Teletrauma or Tele-ER Care

Outline: With Teletrauma care trauma specialists can interact via the internet using mobile devices to determine severity of injuries.

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Teletrauma is typically called "tele-ER" or "tele-emergency" because it can be used beyond the trauma situation.

Using telemedicine, trauma specialists can interact with personnel on the scene of a mass casualty or disaster situation, via the internet using mobile devices, to determine the severity of injuries. They can provide clinical assessments and determine whether those injured must be evacuated for necessary care. Remote trauma specialists can provide the same quality of clinical assessment and plan of care as a trauma specialist located physically with the patient.

The use of telemedicine is long-standing, but only in recent years has it been applied to the specialties of trauma, emergency care, and surgery. Despite being relatively new, the concept of teletrauma, telepresence, and telesurgery is evolving and is being integrated into modern care of trauma and surgical patients.

Trauma (physical injury) is one of the leading causes of death and disability throughout the world and meeting the urgent healthcare needs of rural patients, especially trauma patients, can be extremely challenging. Trauma services provide unnecessary transfers and inappropriate air transport can be avoided, and patients can receive the urgent care they need immediately and in confidence.

It's hard to believe, but only about 30 percent of the U.S. population lives close enough to a trauma center to receive "the right care at the right time", which is within a sixty-minute radius. Sixty minutes, the golden hour as it's called, is that crucial period where access to expert care could mean the difference between life and death.

Teletrauma, or the placement of telehealth equipment into the emergency department setting, was originally started in the state of Nebraska by Good Samaritan Hospital, which installed cameras in 21 critical access hospitals.

With Teletrauma care, trauma specialists can interact with personnel on the scene of a mass casualty or disaster situation, via the internet using mobile devices, to determine the severity of injuries. They can provide clinical assessments and determine whether those injured must be evacuated for necessary care.

Remote trauma specialists can provide the same quality of clinical assessment and plan of care as a trauma specialist located physically with the patient.

Trauma surgeons are able to observe and consult on cases from a remote location using video conferencing. This capability allows the attending to view the residents in real time.

Some day in the not-too-distant future, it might be unusual not to see video and EMR equipment, integrated with hospital information systems, aboard ambulances.

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