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Telemedicine and Development: Situating Information Technologies in the Amazon

Telemedicine and Development: Situating Information Technologies in the Amazon
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Author(s): Gianluca Miscione (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
Copyright: 2011
Volume: 3
Issue: 4
Pages: 12
Source title: International Journal of Sociotechnology and Knowledge Development (IJSKD)
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Lincoln Christopher Wood (University of Otago, New Zealand) and Brian J. Galli (Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director, Master of Science in Engineering Management Industrial Engineering, Hofstra University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jskd.2011100102

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Abstract

This study is based on an ethnographic study of a telemedicine system implemented in Northeastern Peru. This system connects a hospital in the Upper Amazon with health care facilities scattered throughout that area of the jungle. Patients’ transport through the physical nodes of the public health care system relied on rivers and wooden boats, but voice and data can now flow directly through channels apart from the existing health care organization. The time required to reach a doctor might previously have been the travel distance for different medicines served as a justification for people not to follow new ways to recovery. After the implementation of telemedicine, the effectiveness of medical talks depends on the ability to understand each other. Locally there is no single health care practice that is believed to be the right one: patients follow different paths for recovery through traditional and biomedical treatments. Thus, the diverse social environment affects both directly and indirectly the use of the telemedicine system, which evolves accordingly with how public healthcare service is perceived and used.

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