Telemedicine In Brazil

7 06 2010

Hey everyone! My name’s Rollin Say, and I’m a rising senior studying economics and global health. I’m hoping to attend medical school after my time at Duke, but for this summer, I’m in Brazil. My project here involves researching the effects of telemedicine in remote and rural communities. Now you may not be too familiar with telemedicine, so I’ll give a quick introduction. Briefly, telemedicine is the extension of health care resources through the use of a telecommunications network. While this may be as simple as picking up the phone to call your doctor’s office for some quick advice, telemedicine has vast potential in providing care to remote locations around the world. A community that has few health care resources can be connected to doctors and specialists located in urban areas. These doctors may then provide consultation or diagnosis. The applications of telemedicine are nearly endless, and projects for telecardiology, teleradiology, and teledermatology have already been introduced in many countries, including the United States.

As you may see, telemedicine is a passion of mine. I first started investigating telemedicine and its potential effects almost two years ago. Intrigued, I followed my curiosity by planning a DukeEngage individual project, which I carried out last summer. It was then that I first came to Brazil and to the Edumed Institute. The Edumed Institute is a non-profit organization located in Campinas, a city near São Paulo. Headed by Brazilian professor Dr. Renato Sabbatini, the company provides telemedicine and telehealth solutions, including online health education and more direct interventions.

My project, in conjunction with Edumed, is to measure how a remote Brazilian community in the Amazon basin reacts to the introduction of a telemedicine system. I will be collecting data on the health status and health attitudes of the Lake Cuniã community, located in the state of Rondonia. This community is relatively small, consisting of only 100 households, but they are in dire need of medical support. The current system of “health care” involves a single health agent working in a three-room health outpost, and monthly visits from doctors on traveling boats who can only get to the community during the rainy seasons.

The telemedicine introduced by the Edumed Institute could dramatically improve the access to and quality of health care for the community. Determining the extent of the effect is the basis of my senior thesis in economics and this research project.

I just arrived in Brazil on Saturday morning, and today is my first day here in Edumed. On Friday we will meet with a collaborating organization to plan the trip to the Lake Cuniã community, where I will be staying during the second half of my time here in Brazil. In the meantime, I will continue to refine my instruments and translate them into Portuguese.

Best wishes to all of you, and to my fellow Global Health adventurers around the globe!

Até logo,

– Rollin Say

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8 responses

7 06 2010
Roger Downey

Rollin,
Since you are doing your due diligence to learn what you can about telemedicine, you may want to investigate the innovative telemedicine solutions that are available now from GlobalMedia.
In February, GlobalMedia and several other companies helped install telemedicine equipment in a clinic located in a remote mountainous province of Honduras. Now, that clinic can do digital x-rays and ultrasounds and forward them to any of 13 academic centers in the United States for intepretation. With GlobalMedia EasyShareVC videoconferencing software, CapSure Image Automation Software, and the TotalExam examination camera, they can provide still or live video to a specialist for his diagnosis.

8 06 2010
Catherine Castillo

So proud of you Rollin, I look forward to reading the blog posts…check mine out too, and best of luck! World Cup Fever!!!

23 06 2010
Alyssa

Hi Rollin, I hope everything’s going well in Brazil! I look forward to reading more about your experiences and progress on your project in coming weeks.

12 11 2010
Luke Porter

Hello Rollin,

I am a senior at the University of Minnesota studying Public/Nonprofit Management and Accounting. I am currently taking a class called Management Innovation and Change that travels to Sao Paulo, Brazil in January 2011. After reading your blog entry I stumbled upon through Google, I have decided that I would like to do my innovation project for the class on telemedicine and telehealth in Brazil. I will be following your blog over the next few months to see if you post anything exciting going in Brazil currently. Keep up the good work!

10 10 2011
Ricardo Matheus

Rollin, congrats for the Blog and the research! :>

My name is Ricardo Matheus, master student at University of Sao Paulo 9USP) and I have been researching the use of ICTs in government.

My work about telemedicine could help you: http://usp-br.academia.edu/RicardoMatheus/Papers/273305/Telemedicine_In_Brazilian_Public_Policy_Management

It is needing an updated, which I am writing with another friend of mine, Gabriela Lotta, a chapter of a book with the subject.

When availble, I send for you, if you want it.

Best regards,

Ricardo Matheus

11 09 2012
Andy

Hi,
I stumbled across this site through Google search. What is the status of your research now that it is 9/2012? I am a board certified rheumatologist in California who is providing telemedicine consults for rural clinics. Would be interesting to donate some of my time to learn more about rheumatic diseases in South America. I have all the equipment already at my site. Is there a network in or around Sao Paolo that could use my free service?

12 09 2012
dukeglobalhealth

Hi Andy- unfortunately this student project is not still under way. I am forwarding your info along to others at DGHI who are doing work in telemedicine. Thanks for stopping by!

13 09 2012
lingual braces

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