Telehealth in Latin America: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities in the Face of COVID-19
Keywords:COVID-19, Latin America, pandemic, Technology, Telehealth
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use and importance of telehealth and telemedicine globally. In industrialized countries, stay-at-home measures and changes to government regulations regarding telehealth resulted in an over 100-fold increase in demand within weeks. The COVID-19 has raged across Latin America for most of 2020, with associated high rates of illness and death. The objective of this article is to review some of the successes and challenges of telehealth in Latin America and highlight opportunities for action within the context of COVID-19.
We identify several positive trends in telehealth adoption across the region as well as some promising case studies on the use of telehealth platforms for delivering care when needed. We also identify barriers that have limited the scale of telehealth in Latin America during the current phase of the pandemic. Limiting factors include inadequacies in long-term evolution telecommunication availability and access to digital trainings for healthcare workers. In addition, political commitment, legislation, and regulation have yet to catch up with demand.
Finally, we present opportunities to more effectively scale these technologies, across Latin America for the current emergency, as well as reducing or controlling healthcare costs, addressing health disparities, and providing improved health care, especially in rural areas.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Bill Pierce, Dirk Schroeder, Robb Suchecki; Josh Newman
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