Everything You Need to Know About At-Sea Remote Medical Services

Technology continues to advance at an astonishing pace, and this has had a huge impact on remote medical care. Unfortunately, when employees are working at sea, there is the daily potential for staff to suffer ill health.

This can range from minor issues to life-threatening conditions that need immediate medical intervention.

Employers have a duty of care to keep employees safe, and using remote medical services can bring a range of benefits to your healthcare scheme.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about at-sea medical services. 

Industries That Use Maritime Medical Services

Any company that works offshore can benefit from partnering with maritime telehealth specialists.

Many people first think of larger industries such as oil, gas, and cargo transportation. But smaller companies can also reap rich rewards.

For example, many fishing vessels or maritime research groups will have staff living at sea for weeks or months.

To cover any medical eventuality, it is a good idea to have access to trained professionals whenever an incident occurs.

Why You Need Remote Maritime Medical Services

When you are working around the world, it is even more worrying when employees become ill. There are several serious concerns that can affect their health and your business.

You could find employee morale dips because they worry about their medical care when working away from the USA. This is a common side-effect of remote worksites, which is why 24/7 access to English-speaking doctors based in the USA through SeaDoc® can be greatly reassuring.

Other concerns often include:

  • Language barriers causing misdiagnosis or lack of treatment
  • Varying hygiene standards & associated infection risks
  • Outdated medical equipment

All of these issues can affect the employee’s outcome, which can be worrying for both the staff member and the rest of your team. This is where Remote Medical Services come into play.

How Remote Medical Services Work

There are many different areas of maritime telemedicine, and each department focuses on a crucial aspect. The most important factor is improving the health of the patient.

But increasing response time efficiency and preventing lost revenue for the company are also vital. 

It’s important to work with a firm that can provide many medical and transportation solutions. Working at sea is unpredictable, and you need to be prepared at all times.

When you have a trusted telemedicine supplier, you can concentrate on your core business. Your medical partner can handle employee health issues on your behalf.

Physician Reviews

Remote services allow qualified medical professionals to participate in patient assessments without being in the same location.

A US-based physician can use video and audio technology to communicate with a company’s employees based anywhere in the world.

This means they can liaise with a patient and the onboard vessel Master or medical representative. Then, when they better understand the situation, they can prepare a more accurate file. 

They can then use this information to make recommendations as to the most suitable course of action.

Because the physician is US-based, they are likely to have immediate access to their colleagues who can also view the case.

This interaction can be invaluable. They can bring together a range of professional opinions to achieve a better patient outcome. 

You should always partner with a company that works on a 24/7 basis. Many maritime industries work around the clock and are frequently in various time zones. 

No matter what time it is, if an employee is sick, you need to know you have the best remote medical care available to address the situation.

This is especially important in the current COVID-19 pandemic when you may require a physician’s opinion. They can advise whether a key staff member needs to self-isolate or if they can continue with their duties.

General Onshore Appointments

Maritime telemedicine isn’t only for employees who suffer from an incapacitating illness. There are also less serious medical and dental issues that you need to address so your employees don’t have to take time off work.

During an online assessment, medical staff can decide if it is appropriate to arrange for a medical visit. A physician or dentist can then meet the employee at the next port.

This means you can potentially cure the problem at an early stage, allowing your employee to come back to work in comfort.

This can also be reassuring for other staff members. They can see you provide quality medical care for your employees.

Medivac Helicoptor On Approach

Transportation and Coordination

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to treat a patient’s symptoms when they are at sea. In this scenario, it’s essential you can transport them to a land-based medical facility that can offer the highest standard of care. 

If you are on a ship, it can be complicated to arrange a diversion that creates the least amount of disruption. But, you then also need to consider linking up with other services. 

Your employee may need an ambulance to meet them at a port to take them to the hospital. If the situation is dire, you may even need an air ambulance to meet you at sea.

A reliable remote medical services provider can work with you to ensure efficient coordination. This can improve the prospects of patient recovery and ensure there is minimum disruption to your business.

Expert Consultation

When you partner with a remote medical services provider, it’s essential they tailor their plan to suit your individual needs.

Every maritime company is different, and your medical procedures should reflect this. A professional provider will discuss your business operations in detail.

This helps to gain an understanding of the most suitable services for your employees.

As many maritime businesses are mobile, your provider should also be flexible. They must be able to respond quickly to changing company requirements.

Contact Discovery Health MD Today

Discovery Health MD provides remote medical services to many companies who operate at-sea. We work with both large and small businesses that aim to ensure their staff has access to the best medical care when they need it most.

Our experienced professionals can support your maritime staff. We help them find the most efficient and cost-effective solutions to employee medical problems.

For a consultation and a free quote, contact our expert team at [email protected].

About the Author:

Discovery Health MD is a Seattle-based medical risk management and consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations mitigate medical risk among large mobile and remote workforces. They have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. They leverage the expertise of a seasoned team of medical professionals and close ties with local academic institutions to streamline back-to-work protocols and testing options for the maritime industry and beyond.

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