Healthcare specialist VIKAND, has appointed Dr John Howe as Medical Director.
He will lead the company’s healthcare programme in the commercial shipping and yachting sectors.
Dr Howe joined VIKAND from the telemedicine sector, having successfully looked after patients in India. While there, he managed to recruit medical professionals and set the standards in clinical quality assurance.
Prior to that, he founded and operated a number of clinics in Kazakhstan, while his maritime experience comes from having served three years as a shipboard physician with two leading cruise lines.
“I’m really excited to welcome John to the VIKAND family. His online and face to face medical experience will be invaluable in leading our healthcare programme which, unlike other online medical services, offers a proactive monthly call by a VIKAND medical professional to check on Masters’ and crews’ health.
“In this way we gain an understanding of any potential physical or mental health related issues on board before they become a real medical emergency and our trained professionals can offer advice on how these can be managed and any potential risks mitigated. The initiative also opens up the communication channels between the ship and VIKAND’s medical personnel so Masters become confident in using the service, either via the phone, high quality video or chat functions using our specially designed app.
“Unlike traditional telehealth services, which typically consume significant bandwidth, the VIKAND app only uses 256 x 256 kbps, with the aim of reducing it still further, to remove all concerns around bandwidth consumption, ” said Peter Hult, VIKAND CEO (pictured).
Dr Howe added, “I’m really enjoying this new role, as I truly believe that crew deserve the best medical care possible. Too often they get overlooked and forgotten about, yet without their dedication 90% of the world’s goods would not reach their intended destination.
“I was attracted to the role as I was impressed with VIKAND’s holistic approach to crews’ physical and mental well-being. VIKAND’s service is not simply about managing a reactive emergency telemedical video hotline but leading a fully proactive medical care, mental health and chronic disease management support function giving guidance to Masters on how to manage crew with ongoing illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiac issues and teaching them how to cope with infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19.
“We are, of course, available 24/7 to deal with any medical emergencies as and when they arise and all our medical professionals have prior on board work experience,” he said.