NEMO goes to Kaitaia
Northland District Health Board is currently taking part in a two year trial of a high tech telemedicine system allowing remote access to specialist emergency care.
The Neonatal Examination and Management Online (NEMO) system is an Australian system that was developed to aid in remote examination and neonatal patient management.
Although developed initially for neonatal patients, Northland is the first to use the system for adults and children. The main benefit is the ability for medical staff at Kaitaia Hospital to have a direct, real time video link to Whangarei Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
The NEMO system is run from a computer work station in Whangarei which remotely connects to a portable video unit in Kaitaia. The camera and call settings can be altered by the clinician at the Whangarei end. The unit allows them to communicate with the whole team involved in patient care as well being able to see what is going on. An added high specification camera on an extended viewing arm allows for additional patient viewing from a better observational angle.
Currently the focus for using the system is acute emergency care, allowing rapid specialist assessment and aiding in decision making in regards to the need for transport to Whangarei and the most suitable form of transport for the patient.
NEMO is also being used to deliver educational sessions and for ICU nursing support. There have been several nursing refresher sessions for using specialised breathing circuits since the trial began. The effectiveness of this form of education is being assessed to ensure it is useful.
The trial is in collaboration with the University of Queensland's Centre for Online Health and is important as it will allow each health care provider to evaluate the system and share the results both nationally and internationally.
"The opportunity that this brings is for Northland DHB to understand whether this type of technology can enhance clinical practice and, at the end of the day, save lives," says the Clinical Head of ICU in Northland and project clinical lead, Doctor Katherine Perry. "If proven, Northland DHB would look to introduce this type of system to all Northland's outlying Hospitals."