IMHA Research Archives/GlobalSeaHealth GSH
The seafarers´ global clinical and research data program
International Coordinators: Olaf Jensen & Debbie Andrioti
Results April 2017: A network of 14 partner countries has been established, a comprehensive program proposal has been developed and submitted to the Horizon program. We dont think this will be acknowledged, but there will come other and better application possibilites. An international article will be produced.
Globally each year 0,5-1 million seafarers visit different doctors worldwide, for health examinations (Westlund et al. 2016). Due to the working conditions the seafarers often have to use different clinics for their health examinations (HE). Furthermore, fit-for-work exams may be take place anywhere across the globe. Their medical history is kept in the clinics without possibility to communicate the data due to lack of coherence among medical practices. Early onset of a disease is unknown to the next clinic, with a minimised possiblity for early diagnosis and prevention (Baygi et al. 2016). Seafarers may also do ”doctor shopping” in case of non-approval “fit-for-work” in one clinic. We don´t know the size of the problem but harmonization of practices across the globe are of paramount importance. A study is on the way in Denmark. Moreover, in a recent research by the International Transport Federation, seagoing employees pointed out the need for getting accurate and current information about health issues (Chowdhury et al. 2016). Online resources associated with maritime health are fragmented and with poor understandability for a diverse audience with different educational background and cultures (Guitton 2015) click for power point presentation
The project aims to:
- create a virtual database with seafarers’ medical records for better clinical diagnosis, prognosis, prevention and research
- review and disseminate accurate health information and guidelines to seafarers worldwide
- assist the decisions for the captain (health officer) whether to call RM or not
- assist and improve the Radio Medical service globally and the decisions for potential repatriation
- A standardised form with clinical information, exposures at work, food, drinking, tobacco and living conditions will be developed by the International Maritime Health Association-Research (IMHA-Research) and the rest of the consortium and will be based on ILO/IMO standards.
- An electronic database is created to collect and store the medical journals, including health examinations, dental records, etc. by using simple technology to be transferred without delay.
- Medical doctors will complete and store seafarers’ medical records in “the cloud” for use by medical doctors in other countries.
- We decided to use the already established global e-health system, the open-EMR - click to open
- A personal “card” like a “credit card” with copy of the data could be kept by the seafarers as extra security
- Standardised report to the maritime authority with recommendations, fit for sailing or else with message to the seafarer, and a copy of the report transferred to GSH in the cloud.
- IMHA-Research together with IMO and ILO will ensure the establishment of rules for personal data protection and the requirements to use the data.
- IMHA-Research will review, create and publish, in cooperation with partner organizations, electronically health information and guidelines according to their needs, taking into consideration issues of culture and background.
- The program will provide better information about seafarers’ health and their work fitness to the maritime authorities.
- The program will help global harmonization of work fitness practices, while doctors will be able to implement disease management and prevention with an obvious benefit for seafarers.
- The program can help physicians to better diagnose the start of hypertension, diabetes overweight and other acute and chronic diseases and seafarers to better comply with prescribed treatment. The early diagnosis is essential to start early prevention and establish a specific monitoring and advice.
- The implementation will assist the navigators on board the ships to decide whether calling the Radio Medical Service or not.
- The data will be used for research nationally and in international co-operation to provide better health services according to seafarers health needs.
- The dissemination of accurate and reliable health information is a valuable tool for raising awareness among seafarers on their own health. It is a matter of high priority to them according to the findings of relevant research done by the International Transport Federation (Chowdhury et al 2016).
Baygi F, Jensen OC, Qorbani M, Farshad A, Salehi S, Mohammadi-Nasrabadi F, Asayesh H, Shidfar F. Prevalence and associated factors of cardio-metabolic risk factors in Iranian seafarers. Int Marit Health 2016; 67, 2:59-65.
Chowdhury S-A, Smith J, Trowsdale S, Leather S HIV/AIDS, health and wellbeing study among International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) seafarer affiliates Int Marit Health 2016;67(1):42-50.
Guitton M, Online maritime health information: an overview of the situation. Int Marit Health 2015; 66, 3: 139–144
Westlund K, Attvall S, Nilsson R, Jensen OC. Telemedical Maritime Assistance Service (TMAS) to Swedish merchant and passengers ships 1997-2012. Int Marit Health 2016; 67, 1: 24-30