A telemedicine service for HIV/AIDS physicians working in developing countries

M Zolfo, MH Bateganya, IM Adetifa, R Colebunders, L Lynen

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    In 2003, the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp set up an Internet-based decision support service to assist health-care workers in the management of difficult HIV/AIDS cases. This service is available to physicians working in resource-limited settings. Between April 2003 and December 2009, the telemedicine service received 1058 queries, from more than 40 countries, mostly resource-constrained. In the first six years there were 952 queries, of which 459 (49%) were posted on the web-based telemedicine discussion forum and the rest sent by email. All queries were handled by a co-ordinator who forwarded them to a network of specialists, based at the ITM and at other institutions. The average time to provide a first reply was 24 hours. Almost half of the queries received in the first six years (n = 466) were related to the use of antiretroviral medications. The response rate to a user questionnaire was 19% (73 questionnaires returned out of 387 delivered): half of those (n = 37) came from active users and the remainder (n = 36) from clinicians who had never used the system. The user survey showed that telemedicine advice was valuable in the management of specific cases, and significantly influenced the way that clinicians managed other similar cases subsequently. Nonetheless, there was a declining trend in the rate of use of the service.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)65-70
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Viral diseases
    • HIV
    • AIDS
    • Continuing education
    • Distance learning
    • Telemedicine
    • Health personnel
    • Medical doctors
    • Utilization
    • Developing countries


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