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Memorias del Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Salud

versión On-line ISSN 1812-9528

Mem. Inst. Investig. Cienc. Salud vol.16 no.3 Asunción dic. 2018

https://doi.org/10.18004/mem.iics/1812-9528/2018.016(03)03-005 

Articles

Editorial

Pedro Galvan1 

1Universidad Nacional de Asunción, Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Salud. Dpto. Ingeniería Biomédica e Imágenes. Paraguay


Advances in biomedical technologies have improved health care in many countries of the world. At present, the great challenge in developing countries and one of the main objectives of the World Health Organization (WHO) is the universal health coverage of the population, with at least basic health services. In this context, health technologies assessment (HTA) is very important in the process of evaluating the potential value and impact of the incorporation of a new technology or technological innovation to the package of benefits linked to this technology. This process implicitly or explicitly involves the use of criteria to define the value of the technologies to be incorporated or financed. The current trend in the world is the need to define the value of technologies and decision-making processes in a more explicit and participatory manner. For this purpose, matrices or value frameworks of recent appearance in the USA were created, which were developed mainly because of the increasingly complex health technologies, exponential increase in health costs associated with these technologies, discrepancies between the cost and benefit of some technologies, changes in social values ​​and the need to include as many shareholders as possible in the definition of the value of technologies (doctors, patients, financiers, decision makers, etc.).

The development and incorporation of health technologies have significantly boosted access to care and strengthened the ability to predict, prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate pathologies that affect the population. Health technology innovations have facilitated many medical practices without the direct presence of a health professional and one of these innovations is undoubtedly telemedicine. This tool based on information and communication technologies (ICTs) facilitates the reduction of the accessibility and equity gap and improves the coverage of health services, and above all its main strength is the distance (remote) diagnostic assistance and monitoring treatments.

Populations in remote or isolated areas do not normally have access to the care of specialists and quality health services, and therefore they depend on their local health services, which generally have low resolutive capacity. As a result, inequities between urban and rural populations are generated in terms of health care. Consequently, telemedicine applications should focus on the provision of equitable health services for remote populations without access to specialists. With this purpose, the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Images of the Health Sciences Research Institute of the National University of Asunción (IICS-UNA), the Telemedicine Unit of the Ministry of Health (MSPBS) and the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Bilbao (Spain) postulate telemedicine as a promising tool to achieve better results in population health and equitable access to health services without dependence on the social context and physical location of each individual. In this sense, the article "Telemedicine in Paraguay: Contributions of the Health Sciences Research Institute" is published in this issue of Memoriasdel IICS to disseminate the results obtained in our research since the nineties and early year 2000.

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