Globecomm, Future Care create 'virtual ER' for seafarers

Access Chat

The following is the text of a news release from PR Newwire:

(NEW YORK) — Future Care Inc., a leading provider of health management services to the maritime community, and Cedar Knolls, NJ., Globecomm Maritime, a leading provider of maritime communications solutions, have formed a strategic relationship to create Future Care Live, a video-enabled telemedicine solution to the global maritime industry, and integrate it into Globecomm's popular Access Chat service.

Future Care Live combines Future Care's Caring for the Crew program with Globecomm's Access Chat Plus live video streaming software to provide a revolutionary level of medical care now available to commercial vessel and yachting crews during emergency illness or injury at sea, as well as to respond to routine healthcare needs.

Using the video streaming properties of Access Chat Plus, Future Care Live creates a "virtual ER" which allows for the simultaneous remote participation of network general and specialist physicians, hospital treatment staff, Future Care case manager, shipowner representatives and family members, as needed, while onboard ship, at sea.

Christina DeSimone, president and CEO of Future Care, said 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 and yacht owner, 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."

Malcolm McMaster, president of Globecomm Maritime, said 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 U.S. 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.

By Professional Mariner Staff