Infraestructura y servicios de telemedicina rural en el Departamento del Cauca, Colombia
The development of telemedicine programs for the public health network of the Department of Cauca10, Colombia, would make it possible to satisfy many identified necessities such as medical coordination, continuing education, epidemiological surveillance, patient referral and counter-referral, and an end to the feeling of isolation among professionals that work in rural health centers. Nevertheless, geographic, economic and social difficulties and the lack of a telecommunication infrastructure in areas with these characteristics present a challenge of such magnitude that the majority of existing telemedicine projects in Colombia have been centered in urban or other areas which present fewer difficulties. In the municipality of Silvia, the University of Cauca has established a prototype network using the "Hispano-American Health Link" (EHAS in Spanish) program technologies, which employs VHF (Very High Frequency) and WiFi (Wireless Fidelity, a set of standards for wireless local area networks) radio systems for the deployment of low cost voice and data networks; over this network information access and exchange services have been developed, which aspire to satisfy some of the aforementioned identified challenges. An initial, short-term evaluation has been completed. The objectives were to obtain information about the development of the project¿s activities and their possible impact. The project telecommunication network and information services, and the results and conclusions of the first evaluation are presented here.