Telemedicine in Latin America: educating healthcare personnel

Investment in educational projects is one of the steps that public and private organizations in Latin America must take to boost the benefits of virtual health and telemedicine.An opinion paper written by Dr. Walter Curioso, from the University of Washington, in the United States, states that e-learning is probably the most viable option for providing fast and efficient knowledge to future healthcare professionals.Isabel Lobos, executive director of Tula Salud, an NGO that trains doctors and nurses virtually in Guatemala, agrees. For her, virtual programs can have a greater impact than face-to-face education in a country where there are 0.4 healthcare professionals per 1,000 people.“Educational processes usually reach the same people. We are talking about the institutional heads, the directors, or chiefs, those who are in a middle ground within the staff. Very rarely they can reach the grassroots, those who give care in less favorable conditions, much more solitary. These people should...

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Telemedicine in Latin America: invest to expand

In certain parts of Latin America, virtual health begins to take steps to meet the challenges and provide digital services to the population. One of the first is to design and execute investment projects in this new industry that gained momentum due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the private (green) and public (blue) expenditure on health in Latin American and Caribbean countries. (Source: WHO, Global Health Expenditure Database, 2016)According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), resources for telemedicine should be included in plans to improve infrastructure and equipment in healthcare centers. Its experts assure that it is necessary to overcome the inequality gaps that exist in Latin America in the 21st century. These are reflected, for example, in the 2018 Broadband Development Index, which revealed that the region lags the most advanced member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).One of the Latin Americ...

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Telemedicine in Latin America: the pending digital divide

Despite the benefits they generate during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual health and telemedicine need to overcome challenges to grow in Latin America. One of the most prevalent is the digital divide that marginalizes those who live in the lowest socioeconomic strata and lack access to internet services.In 2017, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimated that there are more than 200 million people of working age who are digitally excluded in the region. A year later, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) reported that 56% of people used the internet, but only 45.5% of households had a broadband connection.These differences in Latin America are of concern to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which states that "digital inclusion is a crucial element [...] in the region, where internet services [...] are considered essential to ensure the well-being of citizens".Entrepreneur Marcel Roehrs witnessed the backlog when he founded ...

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Telemedicine in Latin America: in search of trained personnel

The success of digital health and telemedicine depends on people with the training and experience to deliver top-caliber care. It is a visible reality in any territory, especially in Latin America, where more trained healthcare professionals are needed to provide services to the population.

According to 2017 statistics by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Latin American region registers one of the largest shortages of healthcare personnel in the world. On average there are 2.28 medical doctors per thousand inhabitants, a figure below the minimum level, which is 2.3 professionals per thousand people.

The need for human resources is most urgent in countries such as Haiti, Guyana, Honduras, and Guatemala, where there is less than one doctor per thousand inhabitants.
The relevance of nurses
The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the importance of having nurses in healthcare services. Susan Groenwald, former president of Chamberlain University in the United States, explains: “They are th...

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Telemedicine in Latin America: an introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic broke paradigms of human work and, as expected, changed the medical industry. It triggered the practice of telemedicine and digital health. Patients stopped visiting clinics and started scheduling appointments and receiving care through their laptops, tablets, or smartphones.

This medical revolution seems to be growing every day in a world where more than half of the population uses the Internet. According to an article on medicaleconomics.com, the adoption of telehealth by patients in early 2020 increased by 33% over 2019. In addition, the market is expected to reach $185.6 billion by 2026.

According to Talía Wegman-Ostrosky, an oncogenetician at Mexico's National Cancer Institute, the advance of telemedicine responds to the facilities it offers compared to face-to-face services. For example, according to Forbes, it saves patients more than 100 minutes of their time compared to an in-person consultation.

"It's here to stay. [...] It avoids travel expenses, wai...

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Natural and Alternative Options for Managing Pain

It’s estimated that over 150 million of us in the US live with chronic pain and take prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, both of which provide only temporary relief, have limited efficacy and come with side effects including potential addiction. This leaves us looking for safe and effective analgesics to manage pain – so in this blog, I’m going to cover some evidence-based alternative and complementary solutions that can provide natural pain relief. It’s important to note that while you can find relief from these options, looking into the root cause of the pain is the key to long-term wellness. And this may require a dramatic shift away from pro-inflammatory habits (affecting your diet, sleep, exercise and mind) which I’ll cover in another blog. 
Acupressure
Acupressure – a traditional Chinese medicine technique dating back more than 2,000 years – is still popular today as an inexpensive and non-medical intervention without side effects. This stimulating practice sends ...

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Making Sense of the Alphabet Soup

Licensure for Acupuncturists and Oriental Medicine In the recently posted webinar by Dagmar Ehling, author (The Chinese Herbalist’s Handbook), acupuncturist, Chinese herbal, and functional medicine practitioner, you may note that she has quite a few titles next to her name. In the field of Oriental medicine, figuring out how to make sense of an acupuncturist’s degree and licensure titles is often confusing. Depending on the college an acupuncturist graduated from and the state he or she practices, you can see different degree and licensure titles. This also comes with the added complexity of different licensing requirements in each state. To make sense of this alphabet soup, below is a short list of some of the titles you may see in the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession. My suggestion – trust references you may have received but verify the credentials of the practitioner for licensure in your state prior to getting needled. LAc (Licensed Acupuncturist) AP (Acupuncture Physic...

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Is CBD All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, has grown in popularity over the past few years. But what really is CBD, is it actually beneficial for you, and is it marijuana? While, yes, CBD is a component of marijuana, it can be derived from either the hemp plant or the marijuana plant1. Also, unlike marijuana, CBD by itself will not give you a “high” or any feeling of intoxication1.

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Is Chinese Medicine Effective Against COVID-19?

A recent publication in the Internal Journal of Biological Sciences (Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(10):1708-1717), provided an interesting perspective and review on the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)  for SARS /COVID-19 infections.  Application of TCM in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 has been inspired by the outbreak of SARS-CoV in late 2002 in China, and the use of TCM to treat it. Based on observational studies and randomized clinical trials, there is some compelling evidence to support the notion that TCM has a beneficial effect in the treatment or prevention of SARS. A critical analysis of eight randomized controlled trials concluded that as a complement to conventional medicine, TCM showed a  decrease in mortality and relief of symptoms, as well as control of fungal infections in patients with SARS. Additionally, an analysis of 90 peer-reviewed papers showed that TCM used as a complement to conventional treatment had some benefits, including better control of fever, and faster ...

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Acupuncture and Pain Management – Dr. Bonnie McLean Podcast Review

I had the pleasure of listening to this interview podcast of one of our Wholistics advisors, Dr. Bonnie McLean, on How Acupuncture Chinese Medicine Works for Pain Management. I love her approach to treating the whole person and she has provided me with much guidance on the Wholistics platform. Dr. Mclean is an RN with over 35 years’ experience in acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. In addition to being an author of the book, Integrative Medicine, she recently won Top Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncturist 2019 by the International Association of Top Professionals. At the time of this blog writing, she was on her way to Las Vegas to accept her award – congratulations Bonnie! In this interview, Bonnie noted that she got into integrative medicine as she wasn’t getting the care she wanted as an allopathic nurse. This led her to receive her doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Here are the salient points from her interview: Acupuncture is part of an umbrella of integrative m...

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