Background: The Ministry of Health of Kosova has recently announced the Telemedicine Program of Kosova (TMPK) as the official institution responsible for managing and coordinating the nation's Long-Distance Continuous Medical Education (CME) program. There are a lack of studies on cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and other economic evaluations of telemedicine programs (TMP), in particular the financial value of CME offered through such a service. In addition, there is lack of prospective studies on Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) of TMP.
Objective: The goal of this study was to conduct a retrospective CBA of prospective data collected at TMPK over a 5-year period (2005-2010) in order to determine the cost benefit as opposed to the alternative method of delivery of this model for developing countries whose healthcare systems are in disarray.
Materials and methods: We reviewed data on the number of participants in virtual lectures both at the Telemedicine Center of Kosova (TCK) as well as the number of participants at six Regional Telemedicine Centers throughout Kosova, the number of lectures broadcasted, the clinical cases reviewed and transmitted for international consultation, and other quantitative data.
Results: Only in 2009, approximately 2,000 CME certificates were awarded to physicians and nurses of Kosova, 18 international teleconsultations were conducted, 138 videoconferences, lectures, and seminars were held, and there were over 9,000 visitors at the TCK e-library. Data analysis shows that the TMPK has been an efficient mechanism for CME and sustainable model for rebuilding the medical system. TMPK has been successful in offering physicians, nurses, and other medical professions access to electronic information.
Conclusions: TMP is an efficient mechanism to ensure CME and rebuilding medical systems in developing countries. There is a need for prospective CBA of any TMP and the establishment of M&E programs in any future telemedicine initiatives in developing countries.