The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) stands as a beacon of hope for Australians suffering from serious health conditions, including cancer, premature birth, infectious diseases, depression, diabetes and obesity, and more. Based in Adelaide, the five-year old institute houses more than 500 researchers committed to improving the quality of life through world-class innovation in health and medical research. In 2015, Verizon Australia and SAHMRI teamed up to provide children with necessary medical tests. Through this partnership, we saw the benefits that cloud technology can deliver to doctors and their patients.
The South Australian Childhood Rheumatic Heart Disease Screening Project performed heart ultrasounds to over 1800 children in schools across South Australia, mainly from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. The tests were intended to detect heart valve abnormalities in this population, which is at high risk of rheumatic heart disease. Echocardiograms were performed by cardiac sonographers on-site, and results were uploaded to a cloud program from remote sites to enable metropolitan-based specialists to quickly identify abnormalities of the heart. Abnormal test results were later uploaded to a Verizon cloud-based solution for further diagnosis.
Verizon’s partnership in the program enabled SAHMRI to overcome significant investment and logistic hurdles. Thirty-eight previously undiagnosed children were found to have either congenital abnormalities or some level of rheumatic heart disease. Children with heart abnormalities have since been referred to pediatric cardiologists for confirmation of the findings and treatment as required.
Heart screening and specialist follow-up has been provided at no cost to families or schools. The opportunity to provide this service to children at high risk of rheumatic heart disease has been invaluable. Too often, children with heart disease living in rural and remote locations in Australia are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced and open-heart surgery is required.
Verizon’s participation in this initiative was made possible through a grant by the Verizon Foundation. The success of this program follows a similar Verizon-backed initiative in Brazil.
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