A study on the use of telemedicine in hospital emergency departments has found that while specialists report being placed under greater stress, regional health professionals are reaping the benefits.
Telemedicine allows specialists in larger centres to provide advice to doctors and nurses working in smaller, more remote areas lacking specialist services.
The Medical Journal of Australia has reported the results of a study carried out between staff at a large metropolitan hospital and a small district hospital.
The co-author of the report, Professor Johanna Westbrook from the University of Sydney, says the system worked best when dealing with moderate trauma patients but the specialists found themselves under additional stress.
"We actually asked the clinicians how they felt about the system and what difference it makes to the way they worked," she said.
"One of the most interesting findings we found was that the specialist who were providing the advice actually sometimes indicated that it created additional stress for them.
"But what they actually said was that they can often now see and hear the patient and so it’s like being in the room with a resuscitation going on but they actually don’t have any power to take any action"
"So in some ways it can actually create a little more stress for those clinicians."