Medicine and healthcare
Through its interconnections, GEANT enables professionals across Europe and beyond to participate in world-class research aimed at finding effective treatments for medical disorders, cures for diseases, and to enable medical staff around the world to learn from specialists, whatever their location. Two such user applications are summarised here:ITHANET project - Thalassaemia research through collaboration TEMDEC project - Using telemedicine to improve training and patient care
Thalassaemia Research - enabling collaboration to prevent disease
Thalassaemia and its related conditions – inherited blood disorders – affect over 300,000 newborn infants worldwide every year. The ITHANET project uses the GÉANT and EUMEDCONNECT networks to link scientists, clinicians and patients across Europe and the Mediterranean. Their collaborative research is helping to revolutionise treatment of thalassaemia and bringing significant benefits to patients.
Telemedicine – improving medical training and patient care across Europe
|“Over the years thalassaemia researchers in Mediterranean countries have developed considerable expertise in diagnosis and effective treatment, but these centres of excellence remained isolated, unable to undertake any really effective cooperation. Through the GÉANT and EUMEDCONNECT networks, ITHANET has transformed this picture, and promises great strides for the future in our ability to understand, treat and prevent this disease.”|
– Dr Marina Kleanthous, ITHANET Project Coordinator
High speed networking underpins telemedicine across Europe, and thus improve healthcare, through a new telemedicine system which links up hospitals using an advanced video conferencing system to enable the sharing of high quality, real-time video images of surgery for training and diagnosis.
The TEMDEC project, a pioneer in using telemedicine to improve surgical training, was set up in 2003. Since then it has carried out over 100 demonstrations across the world, of techniques that include laparoscopic gastric surgery, neurosurgery, endoscopy and colon surgery. The first demonstration of a TEMDEC-led project that links hospitals across Europe was given at the TNC (TERENA National Conference) in June 2009, linking hospitals in Norway, Italy and Spain. It showed how images of live endoscopic surgery can be transmitted for training purposes across the high speed GÉANT network.
|“Surgical training has traditionally been based on observing operations and learning from them. As surgical skills become more specialised we need to be able to train surgeons remotely in order to improve knowledge transfer and enhance abilities. Using television-quality video over the GÉANT network to remotely watch live keyhole surgery undertaken in other countries, promises a disruptive change to training in this area, benefiting all involved. We hope that this demonstration is the first step in the adoption of increased telemedicine use across Europe.”|
- Dr Shuji Shimizu, Department of Endoscopic Diagnostics and Therapeutics Kyushu University Hospital and Leader of TEMDEC