Monograph "Health Interventions on the Internet"
Telemedicine and HIV
Enrique J. Gómez
Felipe García (FGARCIA@clinic.ub.es)
Senior specialist and co-ordinator of Barcelona�s Hospital Clínic's Infections Service ward
Care for complex chronic illnesses (diabetes, COPD, HIV/AIDS, etc.) increasingly requires more healthcare resources. In the case of HIV/AIDS, the problems faced by those affected have changed somewhat over recent years. Previously, the main efforts had been employed in increasing the time patients lived, whilst now the aim is to improve their quality of life, which is affected by a great range of factors (medical, psychological and social).
The Hospital VIHrtual is a telemedicine system that improves monitoring and care at home for HIV/AIDS patients. The main services offered by the system both for patients and healthcare personnel over the Internet are: consultations (via videoconferencing, chats and messages), viewing of patient data, managing appointments, remote pharmacy, virtual communities and a library. The main innovation in the system is that it comprehensively embraces the whole patient care process over the Internet (consultations, medical, psychological and social monitoring, medication, quality of life, coordination of the care team, etc.) without involving important technological innovations, instead innovating services, as they used tried and tested, low-cost technologies.
A pilot trial is being carried out at Barcelona's Hospital Clínic over two years with a total of 100 patients (50 in a trial group and 50 in a control group, crosschecked after a year) and 20 healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, pharmacists, etc,), This experiment aims to highlight in which cases the telemedicine system is viable and improves patient care, and in which cases it does not, whether due to the state of the patient's health, their location or their knowledge, or due to the limitations in coordinating healthcare professionals, limitations in the system etc.
AIDS, HIV, Internet, care at home, multidisciplinary care, telemedicine
Submission date: December 2006
Published in: March 2007