A quarter of Brazilian internet users used telemedicine during a pandemic - Portal Comunique-se

A quarter of Brazilian internet users used telemedicine during a pandemic – Portal Comunique-se

The changes driven by the Covid-19 pandemic left marks and became habits that should consolidate in the routine of Brazilians even after the end of the health crisis. Research conducted by the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br), integrated into the Brazilian Internet Management Committee (CGI.br), showed that in the second year of the pandemic, even after the easing of social distancing, a quarter (or 26%) of Brazilian internet users aged 16 or over consulted with a health professional over the internet.

The survey, carried out by telephone, showed that most consultations were carried out in the public network – through the Unified Health System (SUS). On the other hand, most appointments and exams appointments, and results visualization performed over the internet, were made, in large part, on the private network. And the main technological resource used for medical appointments – or with another health professional – was the instant messaging application. Whatsapp.

According to the Information Technology (IT) professional, Claudino Brunharoto Júnior, the health area is one of the main beneficiaries of the technological modernization driven by the emergence of smartphones. He recalls that telemedicine helped to contain the health crisis, by preventing patients from traveling to health centers and being able to be treated in the comfort of their own homes. “We are still experiencing one of the greatest biological disasters in history and which would have had a greater impact if it were not for telemedicine, where patients with other diseases could be treated, avoiding the risk of contagion by Covid-19”, he emphasizes.

In addition to instant messaging or other virtual meeting applications, Brunharoto recalls that other innovations in technology are already being applied and that are making life easier for both health professionals and their patients.

“The role of artificial intelligence as a tool in the diagnostic process is already a reality in large medical centers and has increased assertiveness in the detection of diseases through the reading of imaging tests, immensely helping professionals in the area, as well as an increase in quality patients’ lives”, he highlights.

The professional remembers that these technologies will not replace human care, but they can remove the overload that occurs due to the amount of information needed to reach a complete diagnosis.

“There are several ready-made technologies that already impact the health area and others still in development that will revolutionize our way of life. I wouldn’t be able to cite them all, but here are some examples: nanopharmaceuticals, which guarantee the delivery of drugs to specific organs or tissues; nanorobots, which can perform surgeries without the need for cuts or surgeries performed by remotely operated robots, among others”, informs Claudino Brunharoto Júnior, who has 12 years of experience in the IT field.

Search for telemedicine made CFM regulate practice

The use of the internet for medical consultations has been discussed by the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) since 2018. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the practice was temporarily authorized, but made official two years after the beginning of the health crisis. On May 5 of this year, the Council released Resolution No. 2,314/2022, which regulates telemedicine in Brazil.

According to the CFM, the rule guarantees doctors – duly registered in the regional councils of the class – the autonomy to decide whether to use or refuse telemedicine, indicating face-to-face care whenever deemed necessary. This autonomy, however, is limited to the “principles of beneficence and non-maleficence of the patient” and in accordance with ethical and legal precepts.

The resolution also establishes that remote care, within the practice of telemedicine, can be performed through seven different modalities. They are: teleconsultation, teleconsultation, teleinterconsultation, telediagnosis, telesurgery, telesurveillance and teletriage.

Each modality has a specific function, which can be seen directly in the resolution approved by the CFM.

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