Home > Telemedicine: contributions, difficulties and key factors for implementation in the prison setting.

Mateo, M and Álvarez, R and Cobo, C and Pallas, J R and López, A M and Gaite, L (2019) Telemedicine: contributions, difficulties and key factors for implementation in the prison setting. Revista Espanola de Sanidad Penitenciaria, 21, (2), pp. 95-105.

External website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC68136...

Information and communication technologies are transforming the way we understand health, via a hyper-connected world in which patients, professionals and society take on new challenges and roles. This change is creating an ecosystem called connected health, in which telemedicine acquires special importance when distance (not only geographical), is a critical factor. It can respond to financial, social or safety needs or questions of dignity, as is the case with prisoners when they are transferred handcuffed and under custody to hospitals. Bringing health services closer to patients who cannot autonomously travel contributes towards humanising healthcare. Tele-consultations, long-distance encounters between patients and health professionals, reduce the direct and social costs inherent to habitual clinical practice and are very highly valued by patients in prison.

Despite its potential benefits in the prison setting, the implementation of telemedicine in Spain continues to be scarce and irregular, which, amongst other things, is due to a lack of awareness of this healthcare practice, the severe shortage of resources currently endemic to the prison health service system and the lack of interoperability solutions for clinical information between the healthcare administration and the prison health services, which unfortunately continue to depend on an organisation outside the healthcare ambit (the Ministry of Home Affairs), despite the legal provisions requiring them to be fully integrated into regional health services. The SARA (Administration Applications and Networks Systems) Network and the Reúnete© Service offer solid, secure, free technology is available to all prisons, to set in motion telemedicine programs at a nationwide level.

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