London: ClipperTelemed+™ is a global joint venture between PRAXES Medical Group and Clipper Ventures, providing all seafarers with a live link to medical advice and support.
Susan Helliwell, ceo of ClipperTelemed+, tells Maritime CEO, “There is increased recognition within the maritime industry that telemedicine is a viable option for healthcare, particularly for seafarers in remote locations.”
Employers worldwide have generally focused on improving safety at work, and preventing incidents and accidents, Helliwell says. With an aging workforce, she adds, employers understand that they also need to manage the general health of their workers, especially in remote locations.
A 2013 paper in the International Maritime Health journal provided interesting information about medical issues in the marine industry from 2008-2012.
· Illness and dental claims comprised 66.7% of the total. Illness claims alone, as distinguished from injury claims, accounted for almost half of all medical events (49.8%) with an associated direct cost of $18.5m or 56.4% of the total direct costs of $32.8 million.
· Cardiovascular disease, while accounting for only 4.1% of claims, had an associated direct cost of $5.7m (17.3% of total direct costs.)
· Hospital admissions accounted for only 2.4% of all medical encounters, but 56.8% of all medical expenses
Pointing at these statistics, Helliwell says: “Clearly it is illness and disease that cause most of the cost of medical incidents at sea, not injuries due to accidents. Access to a physician using telemedicine technologies while at sea can safely and effectively manage many health issues.”
Mental health issues for seafarers are also becoming a more prevalent health issue for seafarers. ClipperTelemed+™ also works in partnership with the Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme, aimed at promoting the health and wellbeing of all seafarers within merchant shipping. The coaching programme for merchant navy officers enables them to recognise the signs of illness in their crew.