• Telemedicine is contributing to reduce inequalities in access to healthcare in a LMIC.
• Global health:10 years cooperate with portugal has helped STP developing its service.
• Telemedicine used in the country had an impact on 14 medical specialities.
• Momentum´s framework was used to assess telemedicine's critical success factors.
• The challenge is the transition for full appropriation by STP's ministry of health.
Many African healthcare systems are seeking innovative solutions to improve access to specialized care. Accordingly, Sao Tome and Principe (STP) has adopted telemedicine to overcome the shortage of healthcare professionals, since 2011, and to support daily connections with Portuguese specialists, through a teleconsultation platform. This study presents a comprehensive assessment of the telemedicine service development, evolution, and impact in global health in the context of a low and middle-income country (LMIC).
A case study approach was used and combined with the Momentum framework's critical success factors to successfully launch telemedicine services analysis, in order to help understand implementation and scale-up processes, as well as the role of strategic partnership in leveraging healthcare services with technology.
From 2011 to 2019, the telemedicine service in STP performed a total of 4,966, real-time teleconsultations, 137,976 exams, and clinical files introduced in the telemedicine platform. At present, fourteen medical specialities are providing remote access to care from Portugal. The most frequent specialties were teleradiology (72%), teleophthalmology (13%), teleotorhinolaryngology (9%), and telepediatric (4%). Moreover, behind this platform local human resources were trained to perform teleconsultations with autonomy. Additionally, the Marquês Valle Flor Institute's leadership has been a successful factor.
These results suggest a consistent evolution of the service established through the system's integration into the daily routine and with the Portuguese health service. This sustainable telemedicine service is therefore an excellent example of the contribution that information technologies can make to LMIC, especially in the context of universal healthcare coverage.
Access the research paper here
PhD Candidate at Nova SBE - Tropical Knowledge and ManagementWebsite
RESEARCH SEMINAR | Under the the theme Economic Development in Africa, the NOVAFRICA Knowledge Center welcomes Caroline Theoharides, from Amherst College to present her work on medical worker migration and brain drain.Learn more
In his PhD thesis, Luís Coelho Filipe takes us on a small tour of the health care system (emergency room, hospital and home), with special emphasis on providers.Learn more
Eduardo Costa, PhD Candidate in Economics at Nova SBE, analyzed for Público whether the 100 million euros of the Health budget to hire 4200 professionals will be enough.Learn more