Initial experience at a university teaching hospital from using telemedicine to promote education through video conferencing

Experiência inicial de um hospital universitário utilizando a telemedicina na promoção de educação através de vídeo-conferências

CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE: Telehealth and telemedicine services are advancing rapidly, with an increasing spectrum of information and communication technologies that can be applied broadly to the population's health, and to medical education. The aim here was to report our institution's experience from 100 videoconferencing meetings between five different countries in the Americas over a one-year period. DESIGN AND SETTING: Retrospective study at Universidade Estadual de Campinas. METHODS: Through a Microsoft Excel database, all conferences in all specialties held at our institution from September 2009 to August 2010 were analyzed retrospectively. RESULTS: A total of 647 students, physicians and professors participated in telemedicine meetings. A monthly mean of 8.3 (± 4.3) teleconferences were held over the analysis period. Excluding holidays and the month of inaugurating the telemedicine theatre, our teleconference rate reached a mean of 10.3 (± 2.7), or two teleconferences a week, on average. Trauma surgery and meetings on patient safety were by far the most common subjects discussed in our teleconference meetings, accounting for 22% and 21% of the total calls. CONCLUSION: Our experience with telemedicine meetings has increased students' interest; helped our institution to follow and discuss protocols that are already accepted worldwide; and stimulated professors to promote telemedicine-related research in their own specialties and keep up-to-date. These high-technology meetings have shortened distances in our vast country, and to other reference centers abroad. This virtual proximity has enabled discussion of international training with students and residents, to increase their overall knowledge and improve their education within this institution.

Telemedicine; Education, distance; Technology; Telecommunications; Videoconferencing


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