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Medicina clínica y social

versión On-line ISSN 2521-2281

Med. clín. soc. vol.5 no.2 Santa Rosa del Aguaray ago. 2021 


Telepsychiatry: a mental health revolution in times of pandemic

Nicolás Ayala-Servín1  2  3

1Universidad Nacional de Asunción, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Cátedra de Psiquiatría, San Lorenzo, Paraguay.

2Universidad Politécnica y Artística del Paraguay, Facultad de Medicina, Asunción, Paraguay

3Universidad María Auxiliadora, Facultad de Medicina, Asunción, Paraguay

Since the last century, humanity has undergone changes in various areas of life and easy access to knowledge is facilitated through the use of new technologies capable of shortening distances.

In this context, the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) that we define as the computational and computer tools that process, store, synthesize and represent information in the most varied way, facilitating its registration, storage and dissemination appear. Examples are mobile devices, web pages, virtual libraries, specialized platforms, among others1.

Mental health today faces new challenges, such as constantly reinventing and renewing methods of accessing and caring for the patient. In recent years, the Internet has become the research space where health care and health promotion processes can be developed, and scientific education should prepare health professionals to analyze and evaluate new knowledge, providing them with scientific-technological literacy that allows them to be successful.

Strategies aimed at using content management platforms for health via the Internet have been implemented in several countries, seeking to innovate, while promoting the research spirit and the right medical care with quality and warmth thanks to the advantages of ICT2.

However, the impact of ICT on Paraguay is not yet very evident. While Internet access is growing, ICT management instruction is, in many cases, insufficient; that is, the means of accessing information are available, but there are difficulties in using this data to solve problems and generate new knowledge. The use of ICT for mental health care to populations is broad and feasible to implement in geographically distanced locations that do not have access to specialized mental health care and as part of complex interventions that integrate various components.

The definition of Telemedicine may seem very nascent and related to the globalization of communications and the development of the Internet, the situation is that this issue has been working for decades. A simple concept of Telemedicine would be "the provision of distance medicine services". In the current context, the knowledge of health professionals of this new method is of crucial importance, since this way we will be able to work in order to develop it and thus discover new strategies. Because of Telemedicine's projections of medical care, distance education and scientific research, it becomes imperative to deepen it and understand in detail its field of action, relevance and the need to develop novel strategies for use in health care3.

Work should be made to demonstrate that, in future times, Telemedicine can be useful in reducing deficiencies in health care due to the scarcity of face-to-face consultations due to high patient demand, however, it must be controlled and protected under rational and ethical criteria in relation to the medical-patient process.

Latin America, still at the beginning of this new technology, is expected that the globalization process will make Latin America participate in advances in telemedicine. It should be noted that the implementation of telemedicine did not represent an improvement in the process, but it could also happen that more people can access better diagnostic and therapeutic initiatives, leaving aside geographical distance and social conditions4.

Whether the application of telemedicine is a positive fact or an experiment not very favorable for Latin America depends, in a relevant way, on the reflections and values that prevail in the discussions of each society and the health model that these communities prefer.

Telepsychiatry has been shown to have results even to human-to-person health care, at different levels and areas of mental health care, with favorable acceptability on the part of patients. The incorporation of technology into complex interventions seems to be promising and is an alternative applied in our country that has encouraged the implementation of programs between general health teams and mental health specialists in favor of the user. Because of this, the results generated by the application of Telepsychiatry in our country that measures and evaluates the effectiveness of a collaboration between psychiatrists for the treatment of psychopathological alterations present in the population, with the support of a computer platform are relevant5.

Mental health care should be valued as much as physical health care, today it forces us to prepare to face new adversities and promote mental health care. It is emphasized that the protection of mental health is an issue of interest to public health and that it requires holistic management for its correct care, thus providing the user with quality and warmth


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3. Litewka S. Telemedicina: un desafío para américa latina. Acta Bioeth .2005;11 (2):127-32. 10.4067/S1726-569X2005000200003 [ Links ]

4. Fernandez JM, Merida-Hernandez R. Telemedicina: futuro o presente. Revista Habanera de Ciencias Médicas .2010;9 (1):127-39. [ Links ]

5. Castro A, Larraín A, Fritsch R, Rojas G. Telepsiquiatría: una revisión sistemática cualitativa. Rev Méd Chile .2012;140 (6):789-96. 10.4067/S0034-98872012000600015. [ Links ]

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