Second opinions online
Advising doctors in the developing world
- By: Matthew Billingsley
Telemedicine is rapidly becoming a vital tool in helping doctors around the world communicate and share expertise. It can also give expert advice to hospitals that lack specialists in particular areas, particularly in the developing world, where resources are scarce and health infrastructures are inconsistent.1
As we debate the merits of using telemedicine in the West,2 low technology and low cost techniques are having considerable impact on the lives of doctors and patients around the world in improving health outcomes (see box).
The Swinfen Charitable Trust (SCT) was established by Lord and Lady Swinfen in 1998. They use simple technologies to help hospitals in developing countries get advice from expert consultants around the world. These experts can advise the hospitals in cases where they might need a second opinion or the local staff have gaps in their knowledge.
The first link with a hospital was set up in 1999 at