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TitleThree decades of telemedicine in Brazil: Mapping the regulatory framework from 1990 to 2018.
AuthorsSilva, AB; da Silva, RM; Ribeiro, GDR; Guedes, ACCM; Santos, DL; Nepomuceno, CC; Caetano, R
JournalPloS one
Publication Date1 Dec 2020
Date Added to PubMed26 Nov 2020
AbstractThis study characterized the evolution of Brazilian public telemedicine policy in the Brazilian Unified Health System for 30 years from 1988 to 2019 by analyzing its legal framework. We identified 79 telemedicine-related legislations from the federal government (laws, decrees, and ordinances) and 31 regulations of federal councils of health professionals. Three historical phases were established according to the public policy cycle, and material was classified according to the purpose of the normative documents. The content analysis was based on the advocacy coalition framework model. Of the federal legislations, 8.9% were for the Formulation/Decision-Making phase, 43% for the Organization/Implementation phase, and 48.1% for the Expansion/Maturation phase of telemedicine policy in Brazil. The Federal Council of Medicine was the most active in standardizing telemedicine and was responsible for 21 (67.7%) regulations. The first legislations were passed in 2000; however, the coalitions discussed topics related to telemedicine and created their belief systems from the 1990's. The time cycle which included formulation and decision making for Brazilian telemedicine policy, extended until 2007 with the creation of several technical working groups. The expansion and maturation of telemedicine services began in 2011 with the decentralization of telemedicine policy actions across the country. Telemedicine centers which performed telediagnosis influenced the computerization of primary health care units. We conclude that Brazilian telemedicine field has greatly grown and changed in recent years. However, despite the proliferation of legislations and regulations in the period studied, there is still no fully consolidated process for setting up a wholly defined regulatory framework for telemedicine in Brazil.
Linkhttp://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0242869
TitleThe need for a telemedicine strategy for Botswana? A scoping review and situational assessment.
AuthorsNcube, B; Mars, M; Scott, RE
JournalBMC health services research
Publication Date26 Aug 2020
Date Added to PubMed28 Aug 2020
AbstractHealth, healthcare, and healthcare system problems within the developing world are well recognised. eHealth, the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for health, is frequently suggested as one means by which to ameliorate such problems. However, to identify and implement the most appropriate ehealth solutions requires development of a thoughtful and broadly evidence-informed strategy. Most published strategies focus on health informatics solutions, neglecting the potential for other aspects of ehealth (telehealth, telemedicine, elearning, and ecommerce). This study examined the setting in Botswana to determine the need for a telemedicine-specific strategy. A situational assessment of ehealth activities in Botswana was performed through a scoping review of the scientific and grey literature using specified search terms to July 2018; an interview with an official from the major mhealth stakeholder; and benchtop review of policies and other relevant Government documents including the country's current draft eHealth Strategy. Thirty-nine papers were reviewed. Various ehealth technologies have been applied within Botswana. These include Skype for educational activities, instant messaging (WhatsApp for telepathology; SMS for transmission of laboratory test results, patient appointment reminders, and invoicing and bill payment), and robotics for dermatopathology. In addition health informatics technologies have been used for surveillance, monitoring, and access to information by healthcare workers. The number of distinct health information systems has been reduced from 37 to 12, and 9 discrete EMRs remain active within the public health institutions. Many infrastructural issues were identified. A critical assessment of the current draft ehealth strategy document for Botswana showed limitations. Many telemedicine services have been introduced over the years (addressing cervical cancer screening, teledermatology, teleradiology, oral medicine and eye screening), but only one project was confirmed to be active and being scaled up with the intervention of the Government. Botswana's draft 'ehealth' strategy will not, in and of itself, nurture innovative growth in the application of telemedicine initiatives, which currently are fragmented and stalled. This lack of focus is preventing telemedicine's recognised potential from being leveraged. A specific Telemedicine Strategy, aligned with and supportive of the pre-existing ehealth strategy, would provide the necessary focus, stimulus, and guidance.
Linkhttp://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05653-0
TitleFederal, state, and institutional barriers to the expansion of medication and telemedicine abortion services in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
AuthorsMello, K; Smith, MH; Hill, BJ; Chakraborty, P; Rivlin, K; Bessett, D; Norris, AH; McGowan, ML
JournalContraception
Publication Date1 Jul 2021
Date Added to PubMed1 May 2021
AbstractWe aimed to characterize the combined impact of federal, state, and institutional policies on barriers to expanding medication and telemedicine abortion care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic in the abortion-restrictive states of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. We analyzed 4 state policies, 2 COVID-related state executive orders, and clinic-level survey data on medication abortion provision from fourteen abortion facilities in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia from December 2019 to December 2020. We calculated the percent of medication abortions provided at these facilities during the study period by state, to assess changes in medication abortion use during the pandemic. We ascertained that COVID-19-executive orders in Ohio and West Virginia that limited procedural abortion in Spring 2020 coincided with an increase in the overall number and proportion of medication abortions in this region, peaking at 1613 medication abortions (70%) in April 2020. Ohio and West Virginia, which had executive orders limiting procedural abortion, saw relatively greater increases in April compared to Kentucky. Despite temporary lifting of the mifepristone REMS, prepandemic regulations banning telemedicine abortion in Kentucky and West Virginia and requiring in-person clinic visits for medication abortion distribution in Ohio limited clinics' ability to adapt to offer medication abortion by mail. Our findings illustrate how restrictive medication and telemedicine abortion policies in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia created additional obstacles for patients seeking medication abortion during the pandemic. Permanently lifting federal regulations on in-clinic distribution of mifepristone would only advantage abortion seekers in states without restrictive telehealth and medication abortion policies. State policies that limit access to comprehensive abortion services should be central in larger efforts toward dismantling barriers that impinge upon reproductive autonomy. We find that abolishing the REMS on mifepristone would not be enough to expand access to patients in abortion-restrictive states with telemedicine and medication abortion laws. While the REMS is a barrier, it represents one of several hindrances to the expansion of telemedicine abortion distribution across the United States.
Linkhttp://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2021.04.020
TitleHealth System Approaches Are Needed To Expand Telemedicine Use Across Nine Latin American Nations.
AuthorsLeRouge, CM; Gupta, M; Corpart, G; Arrieta, A
JournalHealth affairs (Project Hope)
Publication Date1 Feb 2019
Date Added to PubMed5 Feb 2019
AbstractDoctors are unequally distributed across different regions in virtually all Latin American countries, which results in limited access to consistent health services. Telemedicine may address such challenges. This study profiles current levels of telemedicine use and assesses forces driving that use for nine Latin American countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay). Specifically, we examined current national policy and legislation, health organization characteristics, and national culture as driving forces in telemedicine expansion. Action by Latin American policy makers, health care leaders, and funders requires the recognition of telemedicine services as an interconnected system to comprehensively address commonly acknowledged domains of telemedicine barriers (regulatory, legal, financial, technological, organizational, and human factors). Although the specific issues within each of these domains may differ across countries, it is very difficult to maximize the potential impact of telemedicine in any country without comprehensive approaches to addressing these interrelated areas of concern.
Linkhttp://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05274
TitleTelemedicine for contraceptive counseling: An exploratory survey of US family planning providers following rapid adoption of services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
AuthorsStifani, BM; Avila, K; Levi, EE
JournalContraception
Publication Date1 Mar 2021
Date Added to PubMed20 Nov 2020
AbstractDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, many clinicians started offering telemedicine services. The objective of this study is to describe the experience of US family planning providers with the rapid adoption of telemedicine for contraceptive counseling during this period. This is a cross-sectional web-based survey of family planning providers practicing in the United States. A total of 172 providers completed the survey (34% response rate). Of these, 156 (91%) provided telemedicine services in the 2 months preceding the survey. Most (78%) were new to telemedicine. About half (54%) referred less than a quarter of contraception patients for in-person visits, and 53% stated that the most common referral reason was long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) insertion. A majority of providers strongly agree that telemedicine visits are an effective way to provide contraceptive counseling (80%), and that this service should be expanded after the pandemic (84%). If asked to provide telemedicine visits after the pandemic, 64% of providers would be very happy about it. Many providers used personal phones or smartphones to conduct telemedicine visits but stated that ideal devices would be work-issued computers, tablets, or phones. More than half (59%) of providers prefer video over phone visits. Family planning clinicians in the United States reported a positive experience with telemedicine for contraceptive counseling during the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and believe that this service should be expanded. Clinicians seem to prefer using work-issued devices and conducting video rather than phone visits. Telemedicine is a promising option for providing contraceptive counseling even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. An investment in hospital or clinic-issued devices that allow for video conferencing may optimize clinicians' telemedicine experience.
Linkhttp://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2020.11.006
TitlePublic health policy-making for hearing loss: stakeholders' evaluation of a novel eHealth tool.
AuthorsDritsakis, G; Trenkova, L; Śliwińska-Kowalska, M; Brdarić, D; Pontoppidan, NH; Katrakazas, P; Bamiou, DE
JournalHealth research policy and systems
Publication Date29 Oct 2020
Date Added to PubMed31 Oct 2020
AbstractHearing loss (HL) affects 466 million people of all ages worldwide, with a rapidly increasing prevalence, and therefore requires appropriate public health policies. Multi-disciplinary approaches that make use of eHealth services can build the evidence to influence public policy. The European Union-funded project EVOTION developed a platform that is fed with real-time data from hearing aids, a smartphone, and additional clinical data and makes public health policy recommendations based on hypothetical public health policy-making models, a big data engine and decision support system. The present study aimed to evaluate this platform as a new tool to support policy-making for HL. A total of 23 key stakeholders in the United Kingdom, Croatia, Bulgaria and Poland evaluated the platform according to the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats methodology. There was consensus that the platform, with its advanced technology as well as the amount and variety of data that it can collect, has huge potential to inform commissioning decisions, public health regulations and affect healthcare as a whole. To achieve this, several limitations and external risks need to be addressed and mitigated. Differences between countries highlighted that the EVOTION tool should be used and managed according to local constraints to maximise success. Overall, the EVOTION platform can equip HL policy-makers with a novel data-driven tool that can support public health policy-making for HL in the future.
Linkhttp://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-020-00637-2
TitleThe Development of a Telemedicine Planning Framework Based on Needs Assessment.
AuthorsAlDossary, S; Martin-Khan, MG; Bradford, NK; Armfield, NR; Smith, AC
JournalJournal of medical systems
Publication Date1 May 2017
Date Added to PubMed23 Mar 2017
AbstractProviding equitable access to healthcare services in rural and remote communities is an ongoing challenge that faces most governments. By increasing access to specialty expertise, telemedicine may be a potential solution to this problem. Regardless of its potential, many telemedicine initiatives do not progress beyond the research phase, and are not implemented into mainstream practice. One reason may be that some telemedicine services are developed without the appropriate planning to ascertain community needs and clinical requirements. The aim of this paper is to report the development of a planning framework for telemedicine services based on needs assessment. The presented framework is based on the key processes in needs assessment, Penchansky and Thomas's dimensions of access, and Bradshaw's types of need. This proposed planning framework consists of two phases. Phase one comprises data collection and needs assessment, and includes assessment of availability and expressed needs; accessibility; perception and affordability. Phase two involves prioritising the demand for health services, balanced against the known limitations of supply, and the implementation of an appropriate telemedicine service that reflects and meets the needs of the community. Using a structured framework for the planning of telemedicine services, based on need assessment, may help with the identification and prioritisation of community health needs.
Linkhttp://doi.org/10.1007/s10916-017-0709-4
TitleTelemedicine in Middle Eastern countries: Progress, barriers, and policy recommendations.
AuthorsAl-Samarraie, H; Ghazal, S; Alzahrani, AI; Moody, L
JournalInternational journal of medical informatics
Publication Date1 Sep 2020
Date Added to PubMed25 Jul 2020
AbstractDespite attempts to reform the healthcare delivery system in the Middle East, expectations for its progress have been-and for some still are-somewhat slow. This study reviewed progress in the use and adoption of telemedicine in Middle Eastern countries. The key dimensions affecting the progress of telemedicine in these countries were identified. A systematic review of the literature was conducted on 43 peer reviewed articles from 2010 to 2020. The review followed the scientific process of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines of identification, selection, assessment, synthesis, and interpretation of findings. The results showed that progress made in the utilization of telemedicine was insufficient and varies across Middle Eastern countries. Certain cultural, financial, organizational, individual, technological, legal, and regulatory challenges were found to prevent telemedicine from being fully used to the point where the full range of medical services can be provided. For example, doctor and patient resistance, poor infrastructure, lack of funding, poor system quality, and lack of information technology training were associated with the low adoption of telemedicine in the region. This review provides a number of recommendations that will help policymakers to move toward the integration of innovative technologies in order to facilitate access to health information, health services, and training. It also recommends that health initiatives should focus on health education and health promotion in order to increase public awareness of the benefits of telemedicine services in the region.
Linkhttp://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2020.104232
TitleThe future of telemedicine visits after COVID-19: perceptions of primary care pediatricians.
AuthorsGrossman, Z; Chodick, G; Reingold, SM; Chapnick, G; Ashkenazi, S
JournalIsrael journal of health policy research
Publication Date20 Oct 2020
Date Added to PubMed22 Oct 2020
AbstractFacing the global health crisis of COVID-19, health systems are increasingly supporting the use of telemedicine in ambulatory care settings. It is not clear whether the increased use of telemedicine will persist after the pandemic has resolved. The aims of this study were to assess the use of telemedicine by Israeli pediatricians before and during the first lockdown phase of the pandemic, and to elucidate how they foresee telemedicine as a medium of medical practice in the post-pandemic era. A web-based survey was distributed among Israeli pediatricians in May 2020, soon after the end of first lockdown was announced. The survey assessed the frequency of telemedicine use as well as its influence on clinical decision making before and during the first COVID-19 lockdown, using two hypothetical clinical scenarios. The same scenarios were also used to assess how the pediatricians foresaw telemedicine in the post-pandemic period. In addition, administrative data from Maccabi on telemedicine use before, during and after the first lockdown were retrieved and analyzed. One hundred and sixty-nine pediatricians responded to the survey (response rate = 40%). The percentage of respondents who reported daily use of text messages, pictures and videoconferencing increased from 24, 15 and 1% before COVID-19 to 40, 40 and 12% during the lockdown, respectively (p < 0.05). After the pandemic, projected use of text messages and pictures/videoclips was expected to decrease to 27 and 26% of respondents, respectively (p < 0.05), but pictures/videoclips were expected to increase from 15% of respondents before to 26% of respondents after (p < 0.05). The reported high likelihood of treating suspected pneumonia or prescribing antibiotics for suspected otitis media via telemedicine was expected to decrease from 20% of respondents during the COVID-19 lockdown to 6%% of respondents after (p < 0.05), and from 14% of respondents during the lockdown to 3% of respondents after, respectively. (p < 0.05). Maccabi administrative data indicated that during the lockdown, there was an increase in phone visits and a decrease in in-person visits compared to the pre-lockdown levels of use. One month after the end of the first lock-down there was a partial return to baseline levels of in-person visits and a sustained increase in phone visits. Phone visits accounted for 0% of pediatrician visits before the first lockdown, 17% of them during the lockdown, and 19% of them 1 month after the lockdown relaxation. The study indicates that use of telemedicine technologies by primary care pediatricians increased substantially during the first COVID-19 lockdown. The study also found that pediatricians expected that use levels will recede after the pandemic. As the pandemic continues and evolves, it will be important to continue to monitor the level of telemedicine use as well as expectations regarding post-pandemic use levels.
Linkhttp://doi.org/10.1186/s13584-020-00414-0
TitleeHealth and mHealth initiatives in Bangladesh: a scoping study.
AuthorsAhmed, T; Lucas, H; Khan, AS; Islam, R; Bhuiya, A; Iqbal, M
JournalBMC health services research
Publication Date16 Jun 2014
Date Added to PubMed18 Jun 2014
AbstractThe health system of Bangladesh is haunted by challenges of accessibility and affordability. Despite impressive gains in many health indicators, recent evidence has raised concerns regarding the utilization, quality and equity of healthcare. In the context of new and unfamiliar public health challenges including high population density and rapid urbanization, eHealth and mHealth are being promoted as a route to cost-effective, equitable and quality healthcare in Bangladesh. The aim of this paper is to highlight such initiatives and understand their true potential. This scoping study applies a combination of research tools to explore 26 eHealth and mHealth initiatives in Bangladesh. A screening matrix was developed by modifying the framework of Arksey & O'Malley, further complemented by case study and SWOT analysis to identify common traits among the selected interventions. The WHO health system building blocks approach was then used for thematic analysis of these traits. Findings suggest that most eHealth and mHealth initiatives have proliferated within the private sector, using mobile phones. The most common initiatives include tele-consultation, prescription and referral. While a minority of projects have a monitoring and evaluation framework, less than a quarter have undertaken evaluation. Most of the initiatives use a health management information system (HMIS) to monitor implementation. However, these do not provide for effective sharing of information and interconnectedness among the various actors. There are extremely few individuals with eHealth training in Bangladesh and there is a strong demand for capacity building and experience sharing, especially for implementation and policy making. There is also a lack of research evidence on how to design interventions to meet the needs of the population and on potential benefits. This study concludes that Bangladesh needs considerable preparation and planning to sustain eHealth and mHealth initiatives successfully. Additional formative and operational research is essential to explore the true potential of the technology. Frameworks for regulation in regards to eHealth governance should be the aim of future research on the integration of eHealth and mHealth into the Bangladesh health system.
Linkhttp://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-14-260
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