Taking heart over the net
A system for transferring electrocardiograms (ECGs) from offshore platforms to land via the internet will be adopted by Statoil this autumn.
German information technology specialist Profound Systems has developed this solution, thought to be the first in the world which makes it possible to transfer digital signals from heart examinations over the net.
"We've always had ECG equipment on our installations, but their findings have had to be transmitted to hospital by telefax," explains Arne J Ulven, senior medical officer for Exploration & Production Norway.
In his view, digital technology will permit improved quality and even faster specialist evaluation of acute heart disease.
Statfjord B in the North Sea is the first platform to adopt the system, with trials due to begin immediately. Routines will be established for the receiving equipment at Haukeland Hospital in Bergen.
As this solution is introduced on all Statoil's installations, several additional hospitals along the Norwegian coast will be involved. They can adopt the technology for their own ambulance services at no extra cost.
All 70 of the nurses doing tours on the group's producing facilities are due to learn how to use the system.
Cases of acute illness involving transport to land and hospital admission have been increasing on Statoil installations in recent years, from 38 in 1995 to 52 last year and 58 so far in 2000.
Fourteen of these incidents have involved cardiovascular problems, the figures show.