Telemedicine Essay

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In Portugal, via the 3571/2013 Order, published in the Official Gazette on March the 6th 2013, the Ministry of Health, assuming that the use of telemedicine allows the observation, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring in a more convenient place for patients, particularly at work or even at home, states that "the services and facilities of the National Health Service (SNS) should increase the use of information and communication technologies in order to promote and ensure the provision of telemedicine services to [its] users" (p.8326).
According to INE, on its Survey on the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Hospitals (INE, 2014b), one third of hospitals developed telemedicine activities in 2014, an increase of 16 percentage points in ten years (12 percentage points in the last four years) (Figure 1). However, the degree of implementation of telemedicine is quite different in public hospitals (51%) and private hospitals (15%).

Figure 1: Proportion of hospitals with telemedicine, Portugal, 2004-2014 (Source: INE, 2014b).

Telemedicine activity can take many forms, ranging from remote diagnosis (teleradiology and telepathology) to remote care provision, such as teleconsultation or home monitoring. Within telemedicine activities, the most used was teleradiology, i.e. the exchange of images to discuss cases and for diagnosis, being reported by 84% of hospitals
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In the Azores the use of telemedicine in nursing is also frequent, particularly in decision support in the treatment of wounds. Furthermore, there are already teleconsultation in various health centres in the archipelago in the following specialties: nephrology, paediatric cardiology, neonatology and
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