Recently, computers, telecommunications and health have come together hand in hand to benefit the patient and reduce costs. One of the areas where this partnership has shown greatest impact is in the field of telemedicine.
Telemedicine is a form of providing medical assistance utilizing image transmission, database, video and information through telecommunications: satelite, fiber optics, internet and telephone.
FUNDAMED has taken part of a telemedicine project by setting up a direct satelite link between the Hospital José Frota in Fortaleza, CE and Dallas Medical Center, in Dallas, TX. This live link was set up to exchange case information and report about plastic surgery experiences.
Another successful experience that is taking place in Brazil related to telemedicine is the linkage of university hospitals in the State of Pernambuco. The main idea of this project, with the support of Pernambuco Federal University, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Telecommunications and Siemens, is to link all health centers in the state and forward medical data to be analized, diagnosed and processed. This will avoid the need for patients in the interior to travel hundreds of miles to receive treatment.
Telemedicine can also be used for education, once the wiring infra-structure is in place. Another very important aspect of telemedicine is “second opinion,” an online medical exchange that increases the probability of a correct diagnosis.