12 February 2014. ESPI Report 48 “Humanitarian Telemedicine: Potential Telemedicine Applications to Assist Developing Countries in Primary and Secondary Care” explores the potential of humanitarian telemedicine (HTM) applications, particularly in the field of primary care. At the moment, HTM activities focus predominantly on secondary care. However, many developing countries face a severe shortage of generalist doctors. This creates an opportunity for north-south collaboration to fill this gap. This report points out the potential of primary care HTM for assisting developing countries, and also presents three distinct pilot projects that could be used to test this idea.
The creation of this report follows a conference that was held at ESPI in 2012 (link to the related webnews here). The report was also presented by Alexandra Bonnefoy and David Gionet-Landry at the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on 11 February 2014 (link to the related webnews here). Following the creation of the report, an in-depth conference will be held in 2014, which will serve as an opportunity to discuss the content of this report, and the future of HTM in general. Importantly, it will also serve as a platform to explore potential ways forward for prototyping the provision of primary care HTM.
About the study: First, the report features a literature review on telemedicine, which has developed tremendously in recent years. Second, it reviews a set of key case studies, taking place in a range of geographical areas, that have helped push telemedicine forward. Third, it highlights ways in which telemedicine has the potential to act as a tool linking different medical communities, including medical volunteer communities in the industrialised world Finally, it discussed various prototypes that could be used to test and measure the appropriateness of such projects, and the potential of HTM for assisting the delivery of primary care in developing countries in particular.