In Early September we had the pleasure and honor of conducting a telemedicine training event as a pre-session course before the Congreso de Telesalud Región de las Américas 2014 that was held in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Dr. Pedro Ramos extended the invitation to us and he and his associates welcomed us with open arms and made our visit quite enjoyable. Four representatives of the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) and Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC) traveled to Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico to train a group of healthcare providers, share information and ideas, and learn about telemedicine programs in our neighboring country.
We had previously offered training and consultation to telemedicine programs in other countries, but this was the first time we were asked to bring our expertise to Mexico. Course directors were Elizabeth Krupinski, PhD Director of the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC) and Associate Director of Assessment for the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) Kristine Erps ATP Associate Director for Administration; Janet Major ATP Associate Director of Facilities; and Pete Yonsetto ATP Network Engineer.
There were over 80 attendees and we covered a wide variety of topics from basic technology to clinical applications and business/sustainability issues. Of high interest to the audience was a demonstration of some of the easy to use and portable technologies for telemedicine that we brought with us. For us the most exciting part was the question and answer period. We had set aside 30 minutes but it lasted an hour and could have gone on even longer! The questions were insightful, covered a wide variety of topics and really showed the sophistication of some of the telemedicine efforts in the various Mexican states. The need as in so many countries is so great and once again telemedicine is paving the way to improve healthcare of all people no matter where they live and no matter their circumstances or medical conditions.
It was a very exciting opportunity for us as Mexico is rapidly adopting telemedicine, in some places more than others. The challenges they face are the same challenges that we face: reaching out to different populations, and reaching out to very rural areas. This was especially evident at the Congreso itself which we had the opportunity to attend the next day and give a talk at on “Human Factors in Telemedicine”. Although we were only able to stay for that one morning, the interest in telemedicine and the variety and extent of programs in Mexico and the rest of Latin America was inspiring!