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J Telemed Telecare. 2004;10 Suppl 1:78-80.

The role of telemedicine in the care of children in under-served communities.

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Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, New York 10467, USA.


Children living in rural and other medically under-served areas are confronted with a shortage of paediatric specialists. Telemedicine has become increasingly popular as a means of providing health education and medical care to people living in rural areas of the United States and other countries. Some US hospitals have had experience with the use of telemedicine to provide subspecialty services to rural children with special health-care needs and health education for immigrant parents. The Medical Missions for Children, a non-profit organization, aims to provide a 'virtual information bridge' between sponsoring hospitals in the United States and hospitals located in developing nations. The organization serves children in hospitals in 58 countries throughout Latin America, eastern Europe, South Africa, Nigeria and India, and delivers three to four videoconferences per month. Since its inception, the programme has provided teleconsultations and services to approximately 18,000 children annually. In addition, there are on average 50 educational videoconferences per month, during which physicians at the mentoring hospitals exchange ideas with physicians in the developing countries. About 600 educational videoconferences are conducted annually.

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