Telemedicine and the Brazilian reality

Telemedicine

(Henry Ascroft, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Adriane Menezes de Medeiros is a 25-year-old student of medicine at the city of Blumenau, located in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Never in the history of humanity have we been so connected as now. In medicine, it could not be different. The usage of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) have brought significant changes to the addressing of health problems worldwide, such as replacing medical paper records with Electronic Health Records (EHRs), responsible for reducing healthcare costs in hospitals and for providing data to create an unprecedented storage information in cloud computing. This mechanism, viable only through the internet, uses hardware and software systems to provide new means to safeguard and access the patients’ information quickly and at lower costs1.

Based on the evolution of ICTs, the history of telemedicine begins circa 1960s, with the increment of communication tools, such as videotape recorder and television. Because of these, it became possible to stablish the beginning of non-physical interaction between specialists and patients, to provide material for later studies and prognoses for treatment2.

However, telemedicine goes beyond this. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), telemedicine can be defined as “the offering services related to health care, where the distance is a critical factor”3. This distance can be reduced by stablishing an interaction between health professional and patient with the use of several types of media, including text, audio, images and videocalls.

Although the theory of telemedicine presents high expectations on success, it still encounters the barrier of approaching this reality in medical schools around the world, and it is not different in Brazil. A study shows that, among all the medical schools in Brazil, only 27,9% have potential to implement this approach. This data reveals some important problems faced by the government, due to its initiative of implementing the Brazilian National Telehealth Network Program (“Telessaúde Brasil Redes”; TBR), a program launched by the Brazilian Ministry of Health (MS) which aims to improve the quality of basic care services in the Unified Health System (SUS)4.

Most of these problems relate to the preparation of the student as a future health professional. According to the Ethical Code for Medical Students5, the activities and subjects must be based on the ability to fully prepare the student to professional enrolment, which includes, for now, telemedicine. Enabling the student to approach the patient ethically is crucial, and an individualized, respectful medical appointment is vital. Besides that, most of Brazilian medical students are not prepared to deal with possible ethical pitfalls brought by telemedicine, brought by the new virtual relationship between professional and patient, the breaches of confidential information etc6.

It takes time to identify and correct errors related to new medical procedures. It is still too soon to call it a success or a failure, and time will show the best option for the students and what needs to be adjusted according to the reality of each region. To sum up, even with the traditional health care system or the implementation of telemedicine, the patients’ well-being is the objective which physicians and students alike aim to achieve.

References

1 BANOVA, B. The Impact of Technology on Healthcare. American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education. Nova Jersey, 24 abr. 2018. Disponível em: https://www.aimseducation.edu/blog/the-impact-of-technology-on-healthcare/. Acesso em: 18 maio 2019.

2 Benschoter RA, Eaton MT, Smith P. Use of videotape to provide individual instruction in techniques of psychotherapy. Academic Medicine, 1965, 40(12):1159–1161.

3 Steinman, M. et al. Impact of telemedicine in hospital culture and its consequences on quality of care and safety. Einstein. São Paulo. v. 13, n. 04. Oct./Dec. 2015. Disponível em: http://www.scielo.br/pdf/eins/v13n4/1679-4508-eins-S1679-45082015GS2893.pdf

4 Neto, E, et al, (2017) Telemedicine in Graduate Medical Education:  A vision of the Medical Courses in a Developing Country. J Int Soc Telemed Ehealth. 2017;5(GKR):e34.  Disponível em: https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/JISfTeH/article/view/267/pdf. Acesso em: 19 de maio 2019.

5 CONSELHO FEDERAL DE MEDICINA. Código de ética do estudante de medicina. Brasília: CFM, 2018. Disponível em: http://www.fm.usp.br/biblioteca/conteudo/biblioteca_1622_ceem.pdf. Acesso em: 19 maio 2019.

6 ETHICAL Practice in Telemedicine. American Medical Association. Disponível em: https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/ethics/ethical-practice-telemedicine. Acesso em: 19 maio 2019.

About the author

Adriane Menezes de Medeiros is a 25-year-old student of medicine at the city of Blumenau, located in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Living in Blumenau is her second experience living outside home, which is Campo Grande. Her first experience was in Canada, where she could take one year and a half of an exchanging program while coursing her previous undergraduation course, architecture. Although spending many years in the study of architecture, she has always been passionate about medicine, so she quit the course and started following her dream of becoming a regardful and great physician.

 

 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

SCADA Security Conference 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic

INTERVIEW: Poverty, education and inclusion top new General Assembly President’s priority list

New UN data tool shows ‘mismatch’ between government aid and places modern slavery exists

Migration crisis update: mutual actions and solidarity needed as anti-migrant policies thrive

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Unprecedented Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to Combat Climate Change

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into PKN Orlen’s proposed acquisition of Lotos

We can save our ocean in three steps – if we act now

Questions directors need to ask in the age of stakeholder capitalism

Your recycling actually gets recycled, right? Not always, says this report

Why the 33,000 staff European Commission did not have a real contingency plan for the refugee crisis?

Extra mild ECB tapering of QE and zero interest rates keep euro low

Digital learning can help us close the global education gap. This is how

Fail fast, fail better: 3 ways companies can master innovation

World Migratory Bird Day highlights deadly risks of plastic pollution

EU Migrant Crisis: Italian Coast Guard Headquarters and Italian Navy to give host national opening addresses at Border Security 2016 in Rome

Here’s how India can soar in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Youth policy in Europe not delivering for young people

5 ways the world is rallying around Australia as bushfires rage

How studying genetics and lifestyle can shape a healthier MENA region

UN chief welcomes DR Congo President’s promise to stand down

Back to school: Schoolchildren to receive milk, fruits and vegetables at school thanks to EU programme

Commission and EIB provide CureVac with a €75 million financing for vaccine development and expansion of manufacturing

UN agencies launch emergency plan for millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants

How the EU sees its own and Russia’s role in Ukraine

Google succumbs unconditionally to EU’s “right to be forgotten” ruling

An Eastern Wind

Grave concern over escalating humanitarian crisis, casualties, displacement across northwest Syria: UN

Commission welcomes Bulgaria and Croatia’s entry into the Exchange Rate Mechanism II

Climate Change Revolution: by-laws for the world

Venezuelan crisis: MEPs reaffirm their support for Juan Guaidó

Deadly earthquake kills dozens in Turkey, UN stands in solidarity and offers support

EU shapes its ambitious strategy on India

Why the world needs systems leadership, not selfish leadership

ILO welcomes new UNDP report that places decent work at the heart of sustainable development

Biggest ever UN aid delivery in Syria provides relief to desperate civilians

China is sending science students to live with rural farmers – and crop yields are skyrocketing

EU and World Health Organisation team up to boost access to health services in developing countries

UN chief announces progress on committee to shape Syria’s political future

This entrepreneur built an island resort out of plastic waste

To beat hunger and combat climate change, world must ‘scale-up’ soil health – UN

Brussels waits for the Germans to arrive

The migration crisis is slowly melting the entire EU edifice

How Europe beat the financial crisis – and the risks it still faces

Could robot leaders do better than our current politicians?

UN agency chiefs condemn Saudi-coalition led air strike that killed dozens in western Yemen

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: UNFCCC Secretariat Launches Forest Information Hub

Security Council renews Central African Republic arms embargo

These are the world’s most fragile states in 2019

From mental health to suicide: the interruption of this chain reaction by prevention

‘Many challenges to overcome’ at UN, in fight against abuse: victims’ advocate

Commission welcomes the political agreement on the transitional rules for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson: who forced the two ‘brave’ Brexiteers to quit?

The developing countries keep the world going

Inclusion, empowerment and equality, must be ‘at the heart of our efforts’ to ensure sustainable development, says UN chief

The Venezuelan exodus to Roraima and its repercussions

The vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion spreads fast engulfing more children

What are the real debates surrounding immigration in an increasingly globalized world?

Parenting in the time of COVID-19? Consider these 6 tips from the WHO

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

Britain aligns with EU rivaling US on trade and Iran, abandons bilateral ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’

More Stings?

Advertising

Comments

  1. really awesome information

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s