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Telemedicine in Oil and Gas: Current Status and Potential Improvements


Telemedicine has been common practice in the petroleum industry for decades, first being characterized by telephonic contacts between the offshore platforms and the onshore medical support, and today including videoconference and digital medical devices. In this paper we present work drawing on a systemic perspective meaning that the telemedicine service is viewed as an interconnected (sub)system, comprising various medical professionals, collaboration and communication technologies, medical equipment, and procedures and work processes. The paper identifies and generalizes both good practices and central challenges for four company cases (operating in Norway and Brazil) that had established, were planning to or were in the process of modifying or improving their current telemedicine solutions. In particular, the paper addresses the various lessons learned related to people, technology, work processes, and governance issues, and the interdependence between these. The data presented is a result of both formal and informal interviews, observations, various meetings and workshops. Main findings include how contextual aspects of operations impact telemedicine set-ups; the criticality of change management when modifying established practices in telemedicine; the need to thoroughly assess the variability in medical workflows when implementing new technology to ensure situation awareness and facilitate decision-making; and the issue of technology integration and need to define early requirements coupled to the new software/hardware when changing existing telemedicine set-ups. The paper concludes with an overall assessment based on our systemic approach to developing telemedicine services, and advocating the need for further research within oil and gas telemedicine set-ups.


Academic lecture




  • Tor Erik Evjemo
  • Kine Reegård
  • Alexandra Fernandes


  • SINTEF Digital / Software Engineering, Safety and Security
  • Institute for Energy Technology

Presented at

6th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2015) and the Affiliated Conferences, AHFE 2015


Las Vegas


26.07.2015 - 30.07.2015





View this publication at Cristin