Feasibility of developing a pediatric telehealth network in Honduras with international consultation support
Citation: Brooks M, Holden KR, Durón RM, McElligott JT, Summer A. Feasibility of developing a pediatric telehealth network in Honduras with international consultation support. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2017; 17: 3965. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=3965 (Accessed 20 October 2017)
Introduction: Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America, and roughly 50% of the population lives in rural areas. A telehealth network linking these areas to larger health centers may improve patient access to care, and physician access to educational opportunities. This pilot study assessed the feasibility of establishing a pediatric telehealth network between underserved clinics in Honduras and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).Key words: Honduras, neurology, pediatrics, remote consultation, rural medicine, tele-consultation, tele-education, telehealth, telemedicine.
Methods: Two underserved Honduran clinics were identified and invited to participate in the telehealth network. Providers from these clinics connected remotely to educational conferences at MUSC, and received teleconsults from MUSC physicians and physicians from the other Honduran site. Honduran providers completed five-point Likert scale satisfaction surveys following participation in the conferences and teleconsults.
Results: Survey feedback was positive, with 100% of respondents stating they would utilize telemedicine in the future. Dissatisfaction was expressed subjectively in the survey comments with regards to poor Internet connectivity and unreliable electrical power.
Conclusions: The establishment of a telehealth network between Honduras and MUSC is feasible, and rural providers were receptive to the clinical and educational opportunities this network provides. Future projects will expand telehealth capabilities to other Honduran sites and focus on intra-country collaboration to ensure sustainability.
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