to innovate medical practices in the industry
Talking about telemedicine is talking about an innovative subject but there is not so much updated knowledge. In our time is closely related with cybermedicine, although some relate it with other kind of practices. However, what is exactly? “Tele” from Greek means distance. Therefore, telemedicine is medicine at a distance. This means, it is about the use of advanced technologies to exchange medical information and supply health services remotely. This implies that a doctor does not have to be present to check a patient, but he can do it remotely through an equipment and specialized technology. However, today Industrial Revolution 4.0 has placed it on the XXI century, with great changes and benefits for general population and, particularly, the industry.
Oscar Miramontos, general director of Technology Creative Core, Miguel Miramontes, sales director of this same company, and Sonia Rascon, director of the Health Committee of Index Chihuahua, are the pioneer minds seeking to implement telemedicine on maquilas in Mexico, starting in Ciudad Juarez.
Advantages for the industry
The advantages of telemedicine in the Industry are many. One of the main problems faced by the industry is workers’ health. For Miguel Miramontes, a sick employee has more possibilities of making mistakes and with that there is a decrease in productivity and quality. That is why, for a maquila is ideal that the entire personnel are healthy. “Thus planet health will improve and it is part of what has to be done in order for productivity to increase,” Oscar Miramontes explained. Meanwhile, Rascon considers that with telemedicine personnel absenteeism. “Disabilities will not be prolonged, will be shorter stays with an in situ treatment,” she explained.
On the other side, Rascon considers that telemedicine is a benefit offered to the employee, which can turn maquilas in socially responsible companies. “State health services currently collapse due to an over demand. In addition, it takes months to have an appointment with the specialists. Instead, specialists can be accessed quickly,” she said.
“A telemedicine team costs between 10 and 15 dollars installed, including the support, applications and one of the most important parts: the database of medical files in the cloud. Compared with the cost – benefit, the investment return is very easy,” Rascon explained. In addition, the technical support is in the city, which according to Miramontes usually does not take place in the facilities of the advanced medical team.
“The growth in the Industry is planning to be at par with the establishment of Industry 4.0, where employees of a company can be permanently monitored by sensors (wearables) IOT/IIOT installed on their body or through bracelets necklaces, etc. This way it integrates to human beings to the context of sensed and monitoring like machines and processes which are the base principles of industry 4.0, establishing the infrastructure of cybermedicine for the processing with big data for diagnosis, trends, distributions, etc. In addition, with the support of artificial intelligence with reports through medical files and/or dashboards, in order for machines and humans work in perfect harmony,” explained Oscar Miramontes.
Without the need of going back to prehispanic times, low cost modern telemedicine has its origin in India fifteen years ago. According with the engineer Oscar Miramontes, this country had a strong need of covering the health of its vast population; therefore telemedicine was the correct answer. That is why, the equipment was increasingly accessible. For example, an instrument with which they started was a series of sensors that a doctor located in one city uses to measure vital signs in other city.
Worldwide, telemedicine still a relatively new subject, even in developed countries as the United States. In Mexico, Miramontes engineers have taken the task of make it known among industrials, medical community and government.
World productivity improvement
For Oscar Miramontes, telemedicine is a way to incorporate the industry and medicine to the fourth industrial revolution 4.0; and thus contributing to increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) not only Mexican but global. “The GDP has fallen since the 70’s and has not recovered. It goes up with each industrial revolution. It happened in England with the first industrial revolution, the GDP was measured and they saw it fall; at the beginning of the XX century went up with the second and again fall. In the 70’s the third one came, it went up and fell again but it still have not managed to recover again. We expect that this fourth industrial revolution makes the GDP goes up again. If we do not implement the telemedicine to be in charge of the human factor health in the industry, we will reach the bottom,” he explained.
Situation in the Industry
Despite the several advantages, there is still work to be done in order for local industrials open to telemedicine. This due to many industrials still do not know what telemedicine, cybermedicine, neither its benefits for the industry, therefore the explanation work is necessary. For Oscar Miramontes, some industrials consider that telemedicine is science fiction or that it can be considered only where they have personnel retention problems.
“There is a need to create the curiosity of human resources managers. They are the most interested and that understand this. They are the ones that receive the abstentions, disabilities, personnel turnover or that loose them to another companies,” Rascon explained.
The telemedicine equipment, co-developed by Miramontes engineers with the Indian company Neurosynaptic, it includes 6 sensors: ECG of 12 channels, ear thermometer, blood pressure instruments, spirometer (lung capacity,) pulse oximeter and electronic stethoscope. These six sensors become medical instruments once connected to the central software which application and data are in medical files at a data cloud. This software includes an application for doctors, another one for patients and one more for administrators as well as a database for medical files. The set of sensors grows continuously already reaching about 35 remote tests, among which figure a blood test, urine and fetal Doppler, among others. All sensors are wireless fed by rechargeable lithium batteries (as well as any cell phone) and they can communicate with laptops, tablets and/or cellular phones through Bluetooth as well as through GPRS, 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi for data transmission.
The basic equipment can be installed in fixed places or be loaded in a suitcase to remote places for a great amount of use options. In the industry on its current state can be used in addition of a medical consultation for employees and/or their families as an additional benefit also to offer a periodic review to all employees and detect some problem in an early manner and/or simply held medical files with the state of health of employees, information about external exercises can be added to the medical file, which are available to have a complete state of the patient’s medical state. This can be useful when the employee travels and has to be treated in another region or country where they can have access to his/her medical files (under authorizations and legal regulations established or that are established in a future) doctors of those places anywhere on the planet.