Quality assurance of the Danish Shipping Industry by optimizing the telemedical health service

 

Background
Radio Medical Denmark (RMD) has provided a compulsory tele-medical contribution to Danish as well as English-speaking seafarers since 1980. However, only limited scientific documentation of the outcome of their work exists. The reason for this is that no systematic follow-up of the different events has been made. It is further complicated by the fact that part of the medical journals are still in paper format. RMD has approx. 1,000 – 1,200 contacts yearly. Most of the calls come from the merchant fleet and passenger ships and concern mainly diseases (approx. 64%) and accidents (approx. 24%). Whether the contact to RMD leads to a fit-for-duty certificate or a notification of illness remains unknown. It is also unknown whether the approx. 60 evacuations, which RMD requests every year, lead to survival or a long-term sickness leave. In order to measure the efforts and to outline measurable criteria – enabling a continuous evaluation and optimizing of the efforts - there is a strong need for merger of different registers.

Purpose
The aim of this project is to optimize the quality of the maritime tele-medical services and to evaluate if the services provided are at an internationally comparable and high level. The project will explore if the current preventive efforts are sufficient, if the acute emergency force is the most effective one to be obtained, if the staff is sufficiently trained, and if the knowledge, which is routinely collected after the incidents have taken place, can be collected and used in a better way.

Method
The focus of the project is to establish a (RMD) register. Furthermore, a register study will be performed – based on data from five different registers. The project also aims at international benchmarking through a comparison with available data in other countries concerning maritime medical service efforts. In this regard, mainly countries with comparable merchant fleets will be the focus of attention.

Project group
Head of Institute and professor Jesper Bo Nielsen, Institute of Public Health, SDU (project leader)
Senior researcher Kimmo Herttua, Centre of Maritime Health and Society, SDU
Postdoc Lulu Hjarnø, Centre of Maritime Health and Society, SDU

Timetable
November 2014 – early 2018

Economy
The project is co-financed by:
The Danish Maritime Fund

Final report
Download and read the final report here: Optimering af det danske maritime sundhedsvæsen (the report is only in Danish).