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Globecomm, Future Care partner for maritime telemedicine solution

Service creates virtual ER to deliver emergency medical response to seafarers

Globecomm Maritime has formed a strategic relationship with Future Care to create Future Care Live, a video-enabled telemedicine solution integrated into Globecomm’s Access Chat service. It combines the “Caring for the Crew” programme with Access Chat Plus live video streaming software to provide medical care to commercial shipping and marine personnel during emergency illness or injury at sea, as well as to respond to routine healthcare needs.

Future Care Live creates a “virtual ER”, which allows for the simultaneous remote participation of general and specialist physicians, hospital treatment staff, Future Care case manager, shipowner representatives and family members while the patient is onboard ship.

Christina DeSimone, President and CEO of Future Care, says the alliance would allow both companies to greatly expand the reach and effectiveness of maritime telemedicine services.

“Telemedicine is a truly shared benefit – to the ship or boat owner or shipmanager, as well as to individual crew members – and in ways not imaginable a few short years ago. Seafarers will benefit from the virtual presence of Future Care’s network physicians and other medical professionals onboard ship while the shipowner and his P&I Club will save in medical costs, time lost and avoidance of deviation,” says DeSimone.

Malcolm McMaster, President of Globecomm Maritime, explains that the ability to provide a genuine telemedicine was a timely development, given the ratification last year of the Maritime Labour Convention.

“Shipowners and managers are more than ever focused on the human factor as the key to safe and efficient operations. Until now, this realisation has lacked the mechanism to truly provide innovative services like telemedicine. Putting Access Chat Plus together with Future Care creates the opportunity to deliver a service that can improve healthcare for mariners and also be highly cost effective.”

Originally developed for military use, Future Care Live meets the requirements of the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and international standards for the electronic transmission of private medical information. Other capabilities include virtual face-to-face secure communication in one-to-one or group settings for non-medical discussions, as well as the encrypted transmission of business documents of any size and in any format between ship and shore.