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Universidad de Concepción in Chile develops a new Regional Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth

The University of Concepción (UdeC) will be in charge of implementing the first Regional Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth in the Biobío Region in central Chile.

The Telemedicine Unit of the Faculty of Medicine of the UdeC has been operating for more than 15 years, being one of the pioneers of telemedicine in Chile. The objective of the Telemedicine Unit is to improve the services of the regional health system and provide greater and easier access to health services to the inhabitants of the region.

The creation of the new Regional Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth in Biobío has financing of more than 1,800 million from the Innovation Fund for Regional Competitiveness (FIC-R) 2021, delivered by the regional government. Construction of the center will begin in early 2022 and will last three years.

“This project has the purpose of impacting the entire society of the Biobío Region and especially in the communities in which we have detected that the gaps in access to health can be shortened through telemedicine and telehealth”, explained the Dr. Angélica Avendaño, director of the Telemedicine Unit.

In Chile, most of the medical specialists are in Santiago, so this type of project seeks to bring more and better health services to regions far from the capital. And also prevent patients from having to travel long distances to receive specialized medical care.

“Telemedicine and telehealth are a complement and it is not that one type of care is more important than the other, that telemedicine is above face-to-face care or vice versa: they are not competing, but must be integrated and complemented in a process for the benefit of people”, explained Dr. Avendaño.

The Biobío Regional Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth seeks to enable the necessary infrastructure so that the health system is strengthened and the population can access specialized health services. "I think it will be very powerful, that it could be replicated and scaled to other regions as well," explains Dr. Avendaño, who is also president of the University Telemedicine Network of Chile (RUTE-Chile).

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