Objective This study was conducted to assess the effect of information and communication technology (ICT) on creation and development of professional network in Perinatal Medicine and evaluate practical aspects of ICT usage in medical institutions of different level of care.
Methods Pilot obstetric and paediatric institutions in 5 regions of Ukraine were provided with computers, internet access, digital cameras and scanners. Information exchange between physicians from those institutions, the other registered users from different regions of Ukraine and western countries was supported by Swiss telemedicine server (http://telemed.ipath.ch). We used clinical cases presented at the server during 2003–2007 years.
Results 299 professionals from Ukraine and other countries registered in the Project Discussion Group. 287 clinical cases were presented for discussion and expertise and most of them contained concrete clinical questions. 94% cases received at least 1 comment from Ukrainian or foreign specialists. Average delay until the first comment was 68,6 hours but about 70% of the cases were provided with the first comment within 72 hrs. Analysis of the presented cases revealed that the consultations concerning interpretation of diagnostic images and clarification of diagnosis in newborns were the most important from clinical standpoint. The percentage of questions containing requests for help increased from 65% in 2003 to 90% in 2007 and number of active users increased more than 3 times.
Conclusions These data suggest that implementation of ICT in perinatal health care foster communication among professionals, could improve quality of patient care and contribute to continuous education over distance.