Telehealth organizations such as Specialist Direct offer solutions that expedite the allocation of organs for Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) and transplant centers. Real-time services facilitate a reduction in organ discard by providing timely testing to improve diagnostic study interpretations to help hospitals find viable organs.
Telehealth testing and expertise are provided by Board-Certified specialists and subspecialists with transplant case experience, providing transplant surgeons with dependable results for confidence when performing procedures. Here we look at the crucial telehealth services that increase the odds of positive outcomes for transplant patients.
Telecardiology for Heart Transplants
Through state-of-the-art telecardiology, OPO personnel can access and share information using the most advanced testing available, including echocardiograms, CT angiograms (CTAs), ECGs, and vascular ultrasound studies. These tests are supported by board-certified healthcare professionals who can provide interpretations and consultations to ensure heart transplant patients receive suitable transplants without delay. Telecardiology solutions include study interpretations to measure a heart’s condition prior to organ donation.
Timely Digital Pathology
Today’s digital pathology solutions, such as whole slide imaging scanners, simplify the process of digitizing frozen sections for the immediate sharing of vital information. Scanning devices use an automated z-focus and stitching function for superior image quality, ready to share and review. Wireless connectivity allows doctors to upload scanned images from any medical location and also provides quicker pathology results.
Telepathology for Liver and Kidney Transplants
Telepathology for transplantation offers clinical benefits throughout many phases of the organ transplant process, including access to expert second opinions. Testing such as real-time allograft selection and assessment of donor/recipient tissue specimens can be used during the pre and post-phases of transplant surgery. In cases where organs are available at medical centers with less experienced doctors to conduct testing and interpretation, they can access input from expert pathologists who can help in the selection and approval process. With urgent turnaround times, healthcare providers require access to ancillary techniques and quick diagnoses only available through diagnostic teleconsultation.
Kidney and Liver Transplants
A perfect example of the role telepathology plays in transplantation is kidney and liver transplants. Telepathology services in the histological diagnosis of biopsy specimens using still video images of paraffin sections can be displayed and diagnosed by expert pathologists. Studies showed the average time to examine biopsies via telemonitors took just 13 minutes, with an average of 6.2 samples in kidney cases and 7.4 in liver cases. Expert pathologist diagnosis can be used with access to biopsy specimens to test for issues such as hepatitis. Medical centers where expert pathologists are not available can expedite the testing process and allow for faster transportation of livers and kidneys to transplant hospitals.
Telepulmonology After Circulatory Death
Successful utilization of lung allograft donation after circulatory death (DCD) if offering hope for more lung transplants. According to the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, there is a 5-year survival rate for DCD lung recipients, which keeps pace with DBDs. Although we face lung shortages, there is hesitancy to utilize DCD lungs. However, telepulmonology can help overcome these misconceptions. Using supportive technologies, including ex vivo lung perfusion, we can open doors for the use of DCD lungs, expediting the evaluation process.
Telepulmonology brings pulmonologists to remote ICU locations utilizing teleconferencing to assess lung viability. This type of testing allows for the quick confirmation of interpretations with specialists, allowing transplant hospitals and OPOs to find DCD lungs with confidence. This, in turn, can increase the number of transplantable lungs available.
Telepulmonology for Donor Evaluation
Telepulmonology also helps influence the understanding of what is traditionally required for a good lung donation. Instead of focusing on absolute contraindications such as medical histories, smoking history, and robust pulmonary function, telepulmonology explores non-ideal scenarios. OPOs can base lung donor potential on extended criteria considering risk factors on post-transplantation allograft function.
Through remote testing, donors can be identified on patient-specific considerations as well as organ specifics to access more donors. Identification can be used along with telepathology, to help score donor viability using lab values, test results, and disease diagnosis for lungs. Doctors can also explore active infection, size, and oxygenation using telepulmonology and telepathology to find matches at nearby hospitals.
Teleradiology for Interpretation
Teleradiology is another key contributor to telemedicine success. It provides real-time interpretations of radiology studies, including MRI, CT, ultrasound, and x-rays, during the organ procurement process. Remote board-certified specialists can also assist with interpretation in transplant cases using x-rays, CTs and ECGs to test for liver, renal and soft tissue issues. These tests provide added reliability for organ data through centralized diagnostic study interpretation solutions, significantly reducing organ discards and increasing transplant access. Diagnostics can be delivered to clinicians, and collaboration can be made for life-saving decisions to ensure organs reach patients and save lives.
Expanding Reach for Organ Donations
Telepathology increases the accessibility of care. It aids OPOs in reaching a wider range of patients while also empowering more healthcare centers to discover viable organs. Telemedicine, in general, creates a far-reaching network of care, so even the most remote medical practices have 24/7 access to biopsy results. OPOs can also extend their reach to procure more organs without sacrificing quality standards.
Finally, telemedicine helps meet the demand for well-trained pathologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, and other critical health care experts through remote access. Digital pathology is fast and efficient, providing the high level of accuracy required in interpretations for critical transplant scenarios. Telemedicine bridges the gap between reduced staff levels and increasing OPO workloads. The entire process is streamlined, expanding reach both geographically and through the acquisition of more organs. All parties involved can experience improvements, from the patients requiring diagnosis to the clinics in remote areas and from the OPOs seeking organs to the patients awaiting their transplants.
At Specialist Direct, we offer advanced PACS technology, industry-leading customer service, and valuable partnerships with board-certified pathologists to ensure your OPO receives optimal organ interpretations that help save lives. With specialists available 24/7/365, we provide unsurpassed access to propel your success forward.