Rural telemedicine infrastructure and services in the Department of Cauca, Colombia

Telemed J E Health. 2005 Aug;11(4):451-9. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2005.11.451.


The development of telemedicine programs for the public health network of the Department of Cauca, Colombia, (Department is the major political and territorial division of the country. The Department of Cauca is located on the Pacific coast in the southwest of the country.) would make it possible to satisfy many identified needs such as medical coordination, continuing education, epidemiologic surveillance, patient referral and counterreferral, and an end to the feeling of isolation among professionals who 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 uses very high frequency (VHF) and wireless fidelity, (WiFi, 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, in order to meet the needs identified above. The objectives were to obtain information about the development of the project's activities and their possible impact. Project telecommunication network and information services are described, and the results and conclusions of the first evaluation are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colombia
  • Humans
  • Public Health Administration
  • Rural Population*
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*