In Discovery Channel's 'Shark Week' special, telemedicine bites

Jessica Kim Cohen -

The Discovery Channel's new Shark Week special "Sharkwrecked," premiering July 26, provides an unexpected example of how telemedicine supports patients in remote areas.

The series follows two shark conservationists as they spend 48 hours sailing the Bahamas in search of the Oceanic Whitetip, an endangered shark. The two conservationists go without food, water or sleep throughout the two-day trip.

To monitor the conservationists, a paramedic team onboard the boat used telemedicine equipment from the vendor Dictum Health. During the trip the paramedics monitored vitals, temperature, heart rate, skin health and glucose levels, and connected with clinicians from Dictum Health's virtual exam room to assist during emergencies.

Telemedicine helped the conservationists overcome risks such as dehydration, hypothermia and dive emergencies, according to a news release from AT&T, which powers Dictum Health's telemedicine solutions.

"Our paramedic team has an extreme challenge to monitor the health of our entire team, from the safety of divers to the show's participants, and all from a remote location," said Nick Stringer, producer and director at Big Wave Productions, the wildlife documentary company that filmed the series.

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