With more and more areas of France now suffering from a lack doctors, the town of Laigneville, north of Paris, is looking into a solution via tele-treatment which uses the concept of a connected mini-hospital called Telemedica.
The last two GPs in the municipality of Laigneville are closing down their surgery at the end of the year, and are looking for a solution to cover for them once they have gone. The mayor, however, is hoping to install a machine in the town that will enable the locals to consult doctors remotely, with examinations carried out using connected devices.
This system was created by Hopi Medical, a company in Lorraine in the east of France, and is designed to allow Laigneville’s 4,000 inhabitants to stay local for simple medical consultations.
Mayor desperate to save municipality from medical drought
Professor Jacques Cinqualbre, a surgeon who specialises in grafts who is also the founder of Hopi Medical, has set up a small-scale tele-treatment structure with his employees. The machine is set to be unveiled in September in the presence of the town’s elected officials and health-care professionals.
"Once it is approved, the machine will be installed in the municipality," said mayor Christophe Dietrich to Le Parisien newspaper. "It will provide work for our nurses as well as enabling more direct access to specialists."
Consulting a doctor via video-conference
Consultations in this "connected hospital" of the future will be carried out remotely via a video-conferencing system with doctors who are connected to the Hopi Medical network. Patients will receive their actual treatment during the consultation from a carer, who will be responsible for carrying out the manipulations and examinations required for the diagnosis, including taking photos of the relevant parts of the body, and checking blood pressure and temperature.
This new equipment can also be used to carry out electrocardiograms, as well as conventional and doppler ultrasounds. Once all of the necessary information has been acquired and transmitted by the system, the doctor can provide a diagnosis, as well as writing a prescription which the patient can print out in Laigneville.
Around 100 similar set-ups already in France
Around 100 similar versions of the equipment are already being used across France, most notably in retirement homes. It retails at 25,000 euros, and can also be rented for 400 euros a month.
The mayor of Laigneville is not giving up on the human aspect of medicine altogether, however, and is still trying to convince a GP to work in the municipality, which has a surgery with room for a doctor, for whom a secretary would even be provided at a cost of 20,000 euros a year. The town is certainly exploring every avenue to ensure that its inhabitants get the medical care that they require.
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