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.

 

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

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

As rural communities age, their public transport is shrinking. It’s time to fix this

Russia to cut gas supplies again: can the EU get back to growth without a solid energy market?

Women vital for ‘new paradigm’ in Africa’s Sahel region, Security Council hears

Transition between education and employment: how the internship culture is threatening the foundations of our education

Talent is worldwide. Opportunity is not. How can we redistribute it?

From Russia with love: Brussels and Moscow close to an agreement on Ukraine’s gas supplies

Confronting neo-mercantilism: why regulation is critical to global trade

A Sting Exclusive: “Digital and mobile technologies are helping to achieve an economic success in Spain”, the Spanish Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society Víctor Calvo-Sotelo reveals to the Sting at Mobile World Congress 2015

Charges against Baha’i in Yemen must be dropped: UN experts urge release of detainees

Towards a European Republic

OECD household income up 0.7% in first quarter of 2018, outpacing GDP growth

EU leaders agree on 2030 Climate and Energy Package: is “flexible” brave enough?

Food safety: more transparency, better risk prevention

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

Solutions for cultural understanding: medical students’ perspective

This is why Dutch teenagers are among the happiest in the world

As monsoon rains pound Rohingya refugee camps, UN food relief agency steps up aid

EU’s social crisis and unemployment to deteriorate

This is the world’s biggest mental health problem – and you might not have heard of it

A Sting Exclusive: “Doing ourselves a favour”, Vice President Dombrovskis underscores that this time growth has to come from within the EU

Ebola: EU provides an additional €30 million to tackle the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

Doctors are humans too: the benefits of embracing your mental status

Women-Friendly Spaces for Rohingya refugees: A place for protection and care

Commission: Do it like the Americans in the food sector

President Juncker temporarily transfers portfolio responsibilities following departure of two Members of the European Commission

Latest tragedy in the Mediterranean claims over 100 lives – UN refugee agency

rescEU assets mobilised to help Greece fight devastating forest fires

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Venezuela-Colombia baby breakthrough, Italy piles on rescue boat pressure, States must combat hate, Kashmir rights latest and a musical plea to combat CAR hunger

Eurozone: Even good statistics mean deeper recession

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

Conflict prevention, mediation: among ‘most important tools’ to reduce human suffering, Guterres tells Security Council

3 reasons why most Africans aren’t on the internet – and how to connect them

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more integrated Europe

25 years after population conference, women still face challenges to ‘well-being and human rights’, says UN chief

70 years on, landmark UN human rights document as important as ever

‘Huge’ stakes, ‘daunting’ job to tackle gender-based violence, UNICEF chief tells ground-breaking conference

South Africa still hasn’t won LGBTQ+ equality. Here are 5 reasons why

Commission launches two projects to support cooperation and innovation in Romanian regions and cities

3 ways to fight stress at work

EU Top Jobs summit ended with no agreement: welcome to Europe’s quicksand!

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

The good news on pensions: sustainable equals profitable

Women must be at ‘centre of peacekeeping decision-making’, UN chief tells Security Council

Leading Palestinian legislator calls for ‘new international engagement’ in two-state solution

The Ukrainian crisis to destabilize Europe and the world for a long time

Millennials aren’t voting – but these young leaders have a plan to change that

The role of students in a migration crisis in Roraima, Brazil

IPCC reports devastating climate consequences; US in denial while EU does not fully support the 2050 net zero emissions target

Spotlight Initiative – EU and UN fight against domestic violence in the Pacific region

Healing of ozone layer gives hope for climate action: UN report

End ‘shame, isolation and segregation’ of fistula sufferers, urges UN reproductive health chief

The European Union and Central Asia: New opportunities for a stronger partnership

The health of the human being in coexistence with a transformative biosphere

‘Rare but devastating’ tsunamis underscore need for better preparation, UN chief urges on World Day

Service and Sacrifice: Guinean peacekeepers make their mark in Mali

EU–US: What is the real exchange in a Free Trade Agreement?

€5 billion of EU energy efficiency project money spent on “comfort”

To flourish in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to rethink these 3 things

More Stings?

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