Telemedicine is a key factor for improving the performance of our health system.
Telemedicine is a form of medical practice remotely using information with technology and communication. It highlights in fact, among themselves or with a patient, one or more health professionals, which must include a medical professional and, when appropriate, other professionals providing their patient care.
It helps establish a diagnosis, to provide for a patient at risk, monitoring for preventive or post-treatment monitoring, require expert advice, to prepare a therapeutic decision to prescribe products, prescribe or to perform acts or services, or conduct surveillance of the status of patients.
Its use in Burundi, especially CMCK Bujumbura, is an organizational and technical response to numerous epidemiological challenges (aging population, increasing number of patients with chronic diseases and poly - pathologies), demographic (unequal distribution of professionals in the country) and economic (budget constraints) facing the health care system today.
What are the applications of telemedicine?
Telemedicine applies to all areas of medicine, specialized or not.
Teleconsultation connects patients and healthcare professionals. It provides consultation, diagnosis and monitoring of the patient away.
Tele-radiology is for example to remotely interpret radiological examinations.
The tele-expertise allows multiple doctors to consult on a patient: it allows including the attending physician to request a second opinion from a medical expert.
Finally, we talk about tele -assistance when a physician attends at distance other health professionals to carry out a medical procedure. Even surgery can be performed remotely, but it requires complex and expensive equipment. This is why tele-surgery remains experimental and not yet practiced in CMCK.
What are the benefits of telemedicine?
Today, this innovative approach grows and opens new perspectives in the organization of care.
It has several advantages:
• It helps to develop home care, to improve the monitoring of patients and prevent complications.
• It reduces the movement (including the elderly or disabled).
• It facilitates access to care in areas of difficult access.
• It reduces the budgetary constraints.
• It facilitates cooperation between General Practitioners and specialists.
In conclusion, Telemedicine will become a tool to partially solve the problem of shortage of medical specialists in certain areas here in Burundi, to maximizing home hospitalization and cost savings in the area of health.