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...

To continue reading this post please login or subscribe to Hippo Hive.

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...

To continue reading this post please login or subscribe to Hippo Hive.

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 ...

To continue reading this post please login or subscribe to Hippo Hive.

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...

To continue reading this post please login or subscribe to Hippo Hive.

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...

To continue reading this post please login or subscribe to Hippo Hive.

Preventing Heart Disease the Functional Medicine Way

I listened to a fascinating series of podcasts called the Longevity Roadmap offered by Dr. Mark Hyman and his Ultrawellness Center. In one episode, a group of specialists provided a short summary on the causes of cardiovascular disease, how to identify the root cause, adequate testing and ways to protect and support the heart using functional medicine approaches. Here are the highlights: The endothelial system lines the inside of every blood vessel in the body and the one cell thick layer called the endothelium is found in the inner walls of our arteries. The proper function of the endothelial system is intimately tied to our health – it delivers oxygen and removes waste. It needs to be able to relax to allow blood to get to all the different tissues in the body. If it doesn’t relax, blood pressure will go up and inflammation of the system leads to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Oxidative stress can damage the endothelial layer and abdominal visceral fat is an inflammatory trigger for d...

To continue reading this post please login or subscribe to Hippo Hive.

Metabolic Dysfunction and How It Can Cause Diabetes and Chronic Diseases

I listened to another fascinating (albeit long) podcast on the Broken Brain series on how out-of-control blood sugar can cause belly fat, brain fog and chronic disease. Dr. Casey Means was the guest and she is a Stanford-trained doctor and associate editor of the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention. Her mission is to reverse the epidemic of preventable chronic disease by empowering individuals with personalized tools (i.e. continuous glucose monitors – CGM) that promote sustainable dietary and lifestyle choices. As a pre-diabetic myself, I have been using some of these tools to monitor how my body responds to my diet and activities of daily living. I was quite shocked at what I learned from a month’s use of a CGM and if this blog speaks to you, it may be something you may want to discuss with your doctor.

Here are the highlights from the podcast:

We make energy from converting sugar and fat and this metabolic process is a core fundamental pathway of every ...

To continue reading this post please login or subscribe to Hippo Hive.

Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Cancer Risk: Part 2

In my previous blog, I described some of the foods and strategies you could try to support an anti-cancer approach to daily living. Here, I will highlight some other foundational pillars to reduce your overall cancer risk.

Sleep

Sleep is critical to our health and well-being; with 40% of American adults reporting lack of sleep, insomnia and/or sleep apnea, it has become an epidemic.  
Research has shown that insufficient sleep (less than 7-8 hours per night) reduces natural killer cell activity and cellular immune response in the body.
It’s not just about quantity of sleep, though, as your quality of sleep is equally important. A recent study indicated sleep apnea combined with snoring could contribute to an increased risk of cancer for both men and women.  
Circadian rhythms impact our sleep and health. Circadian rhythms influence our body’s sleep-wake cycle, as well as hormone release, digestion, body temperature, and other important bodily functions. They influence our immune sy...

To continue reading this post please login or subscribe to Hippo Hive.

More Superfoods to Help Fight Diabetes

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a dietitian to help you develop a healthy-eating plan. The plan helps you control your blood sugar (glucose), manage your weight and control heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high blood fats. In fact, a diabetes diet is arguably the best eating plan for almost everyone, as it’s naturally rich in nutrients, low in fat and calories, and includes lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Here are five more everyday superfoods that are extraordinary for controlling glucose, insulin and staving off/managing Types 2 diabetes. And even if you don’t have diabetes, you should look to incorporate these key elements in your daily diet for a healthy lifestyle. Beans Beans are a superfood packed with protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber to keep you satiated while stabilizing blood sugar levels and minimize cravings. They are nutritious, versatile and inexpensive – hard to say no unle...

To continue reading this post please login or subscribe to Hippo Hive.

Dr. Jason Fung: Fasting as a Therapeutic Option for Weight Loss

Dr. Jason Fung is a nephrologist and expert in the use of intermittent fasting and low carbohydrate diets for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. I’ve listened to over half a dozen of his webcasts and have always been impressed by his professionalism, as well as his evidence-based non-drug approach to treating diabetes. This presentation, delivered at the CrossFit Health Conference in 2018, shares how he has shifted his medical practices with alternative treatment methods as the traditional medical recommendation of drugs and dialysis did not produce the desired outcomes for his patients. His presentation objectives included: Understanding why long-term weight loss is so difficult;Introducing the concept of therapeutic fasting; andHighlighting some myths and misunderstandings associated with the fasting process. The modern eating pattern as Dr. Fung categorized it emerged in 1977 with the development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (the US Food Pyramid). This changed the eating f...

To continue reading this post please login or subscribe to Hippo Hive.