How Virtual Hospital works

Virtual Hospital is based on a traditional healthcare referral systembut operates virtually.  The model has been developed to assist existing NGO’s,  working in the third world to utilise telemedicine in order to connect the poor to medical experts across the globe.

The process starts when an NGO, with operations in a third world country,  applies to become a Virtual Hospital Field Partner and completes an online application form.  Factors taken into consideration when making our decision on Field Partners is the number of years established, whether audited accounts are available and their current service provision to the poor.  NGO’s do not have to be operating in the healthcare field prior to their application.

Once accepted the NGO is virtually trained on the Virtual Hospital standard operating procedures and is then required to set up a Virtual Hospital e-clinic in a rural third world village; consisting primarily of a computer, a webcam and an internet connection.  Virtual Hospital provides the connection from the village to our network of doctors worldwide.

When the e-clinic is operational, the patient consultations commence. The e-clinic registers a patient by creating an electronic medical record (EMR).  The EMR contains details of patient illness, medications and medical history. Any relevant reports and x-rays are attached to the EMR.  The e-clinic then submits a request to Virtual Hospital.  Once received Virtual Hospital categorises the patient EMR on the type of illness and matches the patient to a doctor based on language, medical need and medical priority.

A request is then sent to three registered Virtual Hospital doctors operating within the required medical field and with the relevant language applicable to the patient.  The consultation request is delivered into the doctorsVirtual Hospital out patient folder on their desktop and also as an alert on their mobile phone.  Once one of the doctors has accepted the patient, the request is removed from the out patient folder of the other two doctors.

The accepting doctor undertakes a preliminary diagnosis based on the patients EMR information.  He then identifies whether to undertake an email diagnosis, telephone diagnosis, a face to face video conference, or a combination of either of the above.

The Virtual Hospital server (Hub)

The Virtual Hospital server acts as the nerve centre of the whole system (Hub).  The server receives the patients’ Electronic Medical Record {EMR) from the remote e-clinic and categorises the patient based on several factors including illness type, age, gender, language spoken and medical priority.

The server directs the patient EMR to the correct specialist and notifies the specialist by email and mobile text that there is a patient consultation waiting in his/her Virtual Hospital inbox.  Once a doctor has accepted the patient he/she reviews the EMR and will undertake an email diagnosis, or request a telephone or video conference consultation.

If the request for the patient is for an on-line consultation or telephone consultation, the server automatically triggers the required appointment request and notifies the relevant e-clinic that their patient has been provided with an appointment date and time.  The remote based doctor then undertakes a video or telephone conference with the patient and either provides a diagnosis and treatment plan, refers the patient to a local hospital, or requests a consultation with a consultant based in the relevant Virtual Hospital Specialist Department.

How we undertake on-line video consultations with the patients.

The Virtual Hospital based appointment diary is specialist driven eg; all patient dermatologyappointments for a particular e-clinic will take place in the same appointments session.   The server notifies the relevant e-clinic of the appointment, who then informs the patient to attend their appointment at the required time and to bring any lab results etc.  The appointment takes the form of a live online video conference or telephone call with the doctor.

On the day of the appointment,  the doctor receives the patient appointments list and is connected to the e-clinic through the Virtual Hospital video conferencing software. The doctor reviews the patients’ EMR and then undertakes the video based consultation with the patient. The doctor may also require readings to be taken at the e-clinic and as such the e-clinic operator will undertake this procedure.

The doctor will provide a diagnosis and depending on the diagnosis may provide a prescription, a referral letter to a local hospital, or other instructions to the patient, such documents are stored in the patients EMR output at the e-clinic and then handed to the patient.

The patient leaves the e-clinic with the prescription, or referral letter to the hospital.

How we undertake off-line email based patient consultations

For off-line email requests, the server will send the encrypted patient EMR to a relevant doctor and notifies him by email and mobile text that he has a consultation waiting in the Virtual Hospital inbox on his computer.

Once the consultant has accepted the case. He/she reviews the patient information and then responds with a diagnosis, which is saved within the patient EMR.  The EMR is sent through the Virtual Hospital server to the relevant e-clinic where the e-clinic operator then calls the patient to discuss the diagnosis and treatment.

Complex cases which cannot be addressed by the doctor are returned to the server with a request for referral for a second opinion.  The server then forwards this request to the relevant Virtual Hospital Specialist Department.  The specialist consultant providing a second opinion may also request a video consultation with the patient if required.

The patients Electronic Medical Records (EMR)

The EMR system keeps track of the patient’s history.  Integrated with Virtual Hospital, it provides the medical records of the concerned patient and stores the new data as well as the results of any lab results, consultations and diagnosis.

Every new patient’s information is collected using the computer,  or a mobile phone and sent to the Virtual Hospital server.  This is accomplished by ensuring each e-clinic has a computer or Mobile based software interface which supports entry of a patient’s complete information including medical history, lab results and MDU readings.

The EMR is encrypted.