CYTOGENETIC ANALYSIS USING TELEMEDICINE CONSULTATION: AN IMPROVED MEANS OF PROVIDING EXPERT CROSS-COVERAGE


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Abstract

PurposeWe used telemedicine in providing cross-coverage for a clinical cytogenetics laboratory. A genetic teleconsultation system was used to provide expert cross-coverage for a laboratory in a neighboring metropolitan region for a 6 month period while the usual provider of these services was on military reserve duty.MethodsThe teleconsultation system was a commercially available Perceptive Scientific Instruments (PSI) workstation. Five hundred thirty-nine cytogenetic cases were performed during the study period in the home laboratory in Baltimore, Maryland.ResultsKaryotypes and supporting metaphase spreads were transmitted by modem to the covering director, whereas work sheets and reports were faxed. Physical transfer of data was not necessary, and turn-around-time was not increased.ConclusionThis ability to employ a remote part time director has significant benefits for the laboratory with an absentee director for short or even extended periods of time. We conclude that the use of telemedicine in clinical cytogenetics proved to be an efficient and a cost effective means of providing expert genetics services to a region during a time of cross-coverage need.

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