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Arq Bras Cardiol. 2011 Oct;97(4):307-16. Epub 2011 Jul 29.

Cost-benefit of the telecardiology service in the state of Minas Gerais: Minas Telecardio Project.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

Author information

1
Centro de Telessaúde do Hospital das Clínicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Telecardiology is a tool that can aid in cardiovascular care, mainly in towns located in remote areas. However, economic assessments on this subject are scarce and have yielded controversial results.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the cost-benefit of implementing a Telecardiology service in remote, small towns in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

METHODS:

The study used the database from the Minas Telecardio (MTC) Project, developed from June 2006 to November 2008, in 82 towns in the countryside of the state. Each municipality received a microcomputer with a digital electrocardiograph, with the possibility of transmitting ECG tracings and communicating with the on-duty cardiologist at the University hospital. The cost-benefit analysis was carried out by comparing the cost of performing an ECG in the project versus the cost of performing it by patient referral to another city.

RESULTS:

The average cost of an ECG in the MTC project was R$ 28.92, decomposed into R$ 8.08 for the cost of implementation and R$ 20.84 for maintenance. The cost simulation of the ECG with referral ranged from R$ 30.91 to R$ 54.58, with the cost-benefit ratio being always favorable to the MTC program, regardless of the type of calculation used for referral distance. The simulations considered the financial sponsor's and society's points-of-view. The sensitivity analysis with variation of calibration parameters confirmed these results.

CONCLUSION:

The implementation of a Telecardiology system as support to primary care in small Brazilian towns is feasible and economically beneficial, and can be used as a regular program within the Brazilian public health system.

PMID:
21808852
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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