The Use of Radio and Telemedicine by TMAS Centers in Provision of Medical Care to Seafarers: A Systematic Review

J Pers Med. 2023 Jul 22;13(7):1171. doi: 10.3390/jpm13071171.


Objective: From medicine via radio to telemedicine, personalized medical care at sea has improved significantly over the years. Currently, very little research has been conducted on telemedicine services and tools at sea. This study aims to review real-time case studies of seafarers' personalized treatment via telemedical devices published in medical journals. Methods: A literature search was conducted using three libraries such as PubMed (Medline), Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), BioMed Central, and Google Scholar. The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) were used for information retrieval and document selection was conducted based on the guidelines of preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) 2020 flowchart. Selected articles were subjected to quality checks using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale (NOS). Results: The literature search produced 785 papers and documents. The selection was conducted in three stages such as selection, screening, and inclusion. After applying predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria, only three articles on real-time medical assistance with telemedical tools were identified. It is reported that medical attention is delivered to seafarers in real time thanks to advancements in telemedicine, satellite technology, and video conferencing. Conclusions: By improving the quality of medical care and reducing response times for medical emergencies at sea, lives have been saved. There are still several gaps despite these advancements. Medical assistance at sea should therefore be improved to address many of the still unsolved issues.

Keywords: TMAS; maritime telemedicine; medical assistance at sea; medical devices; satellite technology; seafarers.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This work was supported by grant No. 1624/2021 of the ITF Trust, London.