MSC Cruises Becomes the First Ever Cruise Line to Offer 24/7 Pediatric Telemedicine Service On Board

MSC Magnifica in Hamburg (Photo: MSC Cruises)
MSC Magnifica in Hamburg (Photo: MSC Cruises)

High tech meets the high seas today as MSC Cruises will become the first ever cruise line to offer 24/7 pediatric telemedicine service onboard their twelve cruise ships.  That’s not fancy talk for something you don’t need.  If you’re traveling with a child who requires more than cursory medical care, not only will they be seen by the ship’s doctor, but you can have peace of mind knowing that they will also be seen by pediatric specialists in a variety of disciplines to best diagnosis and treat your child while still onboard the ship.  This is an amazing opportunity for MSC Cruises to lead the way in offering cruise passengers the best medical care at sea.  

MSC Cruises released the following press release today regarding this their new collaboration with Giannina Gaslini Institute

MSC Cruises has become the first cruise line in the world to offer guests a 24/7 multilingual pediatric telemedicine service on board, through a partnership with the Giannina Gaslini Institute, in Genoa, Italy, a world-class center of excellence in pediatric medicine.

MSC Cruises will install new technology across its entire fleet to enable ship-to-shore care of children with onshore support from specialists at the Gaslini Institute. Operational September 1, 2014, fleet-wide, MSC Cruises’ onboard doctors will be able to consult specialist pediatricians at any time to seek a second opinion or carry out procedures such as remote diagnosis, radiology and monitoring.

No other cruise company in the world provides such a service, which will bring peace of mind to the thousands of families that take cruise vacations every year.

The project was announced in Genoa by the CEO of MSC Cruises, Gianni Onorato, the Director General of the Giannina Gaslini Institute, Paul Petralia, and the President of the Liguria Region, Claudio Burlando.

Mr. Onorato said: “MSC Cruises is a family-owned company and we strongly believe in caring for the health and safety of our guests on board, with particular attention to younger travelers, who can require help and treatment quite different from other age groups. We’re really excited about this collaboration, which is particularly adapted to our family cruises, no matter where in the world. Pediatric telemedicine is an addition to other existing services on our ships, such as teleradiology and teleconsultation, for a cruise vacation where we can respond to any need.”

“The expertise of our specialists is being made available beyond the walls of the Gaslini,” said the Director General of the Gaslini, Paolo Petralia. “This enables onboard doctors to confirm their diagnoses and treatments using a cutting-edge system of remote image and data transmission. All this reaffirms the Gaslini Institute’s commitment to offer the best care everywhere while developing the most advanced and efficient means of care and information technology.”

This innovation further improves onboard medical responses through diagnostic and therapeutic functions that were once only possible on land. The link-up, via satellite, will be available on all MSC Cruises itineraries anywhere on the planet.

The telemedicine technology is managed by Carestream, which has developed a platform to enable requests for distance consultation to be made easily from the remotest locations, allowing Gaslini doctors to move quickly with diagnoses and referrals. The process is fully computerized, from the consultation request to the response, and respects the highest of safety standards.

Yet another reason to advise anyone who hasn’t cruised in years that cruising isn’t all shuffleboard, Bingo, and buffets.  As technology continues to advance, we as passengers get incredible benefits every time we cruise, whether we see all of the technology or know that it exists behind the scenes.

What do you think of this announcement?  Have you ever had the chance to use remote telemedicine in your travels or at home?