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Telemedicine in Alentejo

Telemedicine in Alentejo
Telemedicine in Alentejo
Alentejo covers a third of Portugal, yet it is home to only 5% of the population. Residents of the region are poorer, older, and less educated than the rest of the country. There is a shortage of physicians in several specialties. The low population density, a concentration of specialized services, and a poor public transportation network all create barriers to access. Telemedicine was introduced in 1998 to help address these challenges. In this article, we provide an overview of the program and its current status, focusing on infrastructure, services, and activity volume. We also discuss the impact the program has had from the perspectives of patients and healthcare professionals. From 1998 to 2011, there were 132,546 episodes of service using telemedicine, including real-time teleconsultations, teleradiology, teleultrasound, and telepathology. At present, the network includes 20 primary care units and five hospitals, covering almost 30,000 km2 and 500,000 people. Units have high-resolution videoconferencing equipment, access to patients' clinical records, an image archive, and peripherals, such as electronic dermatoscopes and phonendoscopes. Teleconsultations are available in 15 medical specialties and areas, ranging from neurology to pediatric surgery. In 2008, regional health authorities started a tele-education program, and by the end of 2011, 876 healthcare professionals, across 52 locations, had participated in remote learning sessions. More than a decade since telemedicine was introduced in Alentejo, it is now an integral part of everyday service provision. A comprehensive assessment of the costs and consequences of the program is currently underway.
1530-5627
90-93
Oliveira, T. C.
1cfd33cb-b302-4a0c-a2e1-9f271eb90e1a
Barlow, James
51253e7e-517c-48b6-98b0-ac82b00a600f
Bayer, S.
28979328-d6fa-4eb7-b6de-9ef97f8e8e97
Goncalves, L.
38305e9f-4c25-4851-a103-09275ceaa74d
Oliveira, T. C.
1cfd33cb-b302-4a0c-a2e1-9f271eb90e1a
Barlow, James
51253e7e-517c-48b6-98b0-ac82b00a600f
Bayer, S.
28979328-d6fa-4eb7-b6de-9ef97f8e8e97
Goncalves, L.
38305e9f-4c25-4851-a103-09275ceaa74d

Oliveira, T. C., Barlow, James, Bayer, S. and Goncalves, L. (2014) Telemedicine in Alentejo. Telemedicine and e-Health, 20 (1), 90-93. (doi:10.1089/tmj.2012.0308).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Alentejo covers a third of Portugal, yet it is home to only 5% of the population. Residents of the region are poorer, older, and less educated than the rest of the country. There is a shortage of physicians in several specialties. The low population density, a concentration of specialized services, and a poor public transportation network all create barriers to access. Telemedicine was introduced in 1998 to help address these challenges. In this article, we provide an overview of the program and its current status, focusing on infrastructure, services, and activity volume. We also discuss the impact the program has had from the perspectives of patients and healthcare professionals. From 1998 to 2011, there were 132,546 episodes of service using telemedicine, including real-time teleconsultations, teleradiology, teleultrasound, and telepathology. At present, the network includes 20 primary care units and five hospitals, covering almost 30,000 km2 and 500,000 people. Units have high-resolution videoconferencing equipment, access to patients' clinical records, an image archive, and peripherals, such as electronic dermatoscopes and phonendoscopes. Teleconsultations are available in 15 medical specialties and areas, ranging from neurology to pediatric surgery. In 2008, regional health authorities started a tele-education program, and by the end of 2011, 876 healthcare professionals, across 52 locations, had participated in remote learning sessions. More than a decade since telemedicine was introduced in Alentejo, it is now an integral part of everyday service provision. A comprehensive assessment of the costs and consequences of the program is currently underway.

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More information

Published date: 2014
Organisations: Decision Analytics & Risk

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 410482
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/410482
ISSN: 1530-5627
PURE UUID: 4c59fdff-4424-437a-8292-fa503e0b95ed
ORCID for S. Bayer: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7872-467X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Jun 2017 09:00
Last modified: 29 Oct 2019 02:15

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