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'Remote Fetal Scanning'

A remote fetal scanning trial - using a modified videoconferencing system to transmit real-time fetal ultrasound images over fast telephone lines - has been trialled between London and the Isle of Wight.

Ultrasound images generated at St Mary's District General Hospital on the Isle of Wight were transmitted to Queen Charlotte's Specialist Hospital in London, where they were viewed by a consulting expert. The system has been clinically evaluated over a period of 6 months.

The results of the evaluation were published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in November 1996. The evaluation indicated that 86% of cases resulted in a definitive diagnosis over the link and that 80% of expectant mothers felt less anxious about using the system.

Benefits of the system include:

  • Less time to wait before referral appointment

  • Reduced need to travel to referral centre

  • Reduced stress and anxiety associated with a quick referral

  • Continued medical education via professional consultation over the link

  • Experience of unusual cases can be shared as part of the learning process

  • Cost-effective use of consultant time through a reduction in missed appointments

Please contact Mel Collins at BT for more information

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