The U.S. Government and other developed nations provide billions of dollars annually in relief assistance to countries around the world. The long-term benefits of this aid, however, are often difficult to elucidate. The aim of this article is to present a model of a multipartnership collaboration among U.S. governmental, nongovernmental organizations, and academia to rebuild medical systems using telemedicine as a sustainable model of foreign aid. The International Virtual e-Hospital implemented the "initiate-build-operate-transfer" strategy to establish an effective telemedicine system in Albania that includes the National Telemedicine Center and 12 regional telemedicine centers. This nationwide telemedicine network has active clinical programs, virtual educational programs, and an electronic library that has substantially improved the access to care while advancing medical education. We propose that telemedicine is an optimal, sustainable, low-cost model for rebuilding medical systems of developing countries when implemented through a multipartnership approach.
Keywords: Albania; International Virtual e-Hospital Foundation; U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; e-health; electronic library; government; nongovernmental agencies; telemedicine; “initiate–build–operate–transfer” strategy.