Delivering health care in rural Cambodia via store-and-forward telemedicine

A pilot study

Heather A. Brandling-Bennett, Iris Kedar, Daniel J. Pallin, Gary Jacques, Graham J. Gumley, Joseph C. Kvedar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since 2001, a monthly telemedicine clinic has helped provide health care to residents in a remote region in Cambodia. Physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and Sihanouk Hospital of HOPE in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, provide consultations via e-mail to a mobile nurse in the district of Rovieng, Cambodia. We describe the operations of the monthly clinic and report the results of a retrospective case review of the first 28 months of consultations. We also report the results of a satisfaction and willingness to pay survey. A total of 264 visits were made during the 28 monthly sessions. Mean duration of chief complaint at initial visit declined from 37 months to 8 months during the first and last 6 months of the study period, respectively. Thirty-six percent (n = 76) of new patients complained of abdominal pain. Nine percent (n = 20) of new patients were given an empiric diagnosis of goiter. The percent of patients requiring referral to a hospital outside of the village decreased over time. All patients surveyed were either "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their care, and most patients were willing to pay for a visit, with a median amount of USD 0.63. We conclude that store-and-forward e-mail consultative support for mobile nonphysician health care workers is a feasible model for delivering care in the developing world. Further research is needed to demonstrate improvement in health status, cost effectiveness, and sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalTelemedicine Journal and e-Health
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

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