Some of the elements of the program are telemedicine and teleconferencing. Telemedicine has been increasingly used in a host of settings for over 20 years. It allows experts in specialized fields of medicine, such as burn care, to reach areas of the world that have limited or no access to such specialized care. In fact, a recent survey of American burn centers showed that 74% of those surveyed routinely used telemedicine, incorporating it into consultations of acute burns and triage needs as well as follow-up care. It has been used not only as a consultation service for acutely ill burn patients internationally, but also how telemedicine can expedite quick and efficient patient transportation across borders and oceans, as well as redirect consults to expert physicians in the region.
Telemedicine is developing into an invaluable resource in the medical field, especially in the more specialized fields such as burns. We have established a program through doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital/Shriner’s Hospital in Boston, MA, USA that works with a hospital in Ukraine and has provided acute consultation, as well as patient transportation to the United States for treatment and direct assessment of patients by nearby experts.