Could telemedicine enhance traditional medicine practices?

Abstract : In developing countries, telemedicine and mobile health tools promise to enhance access to high-quality healthcare, to support communication of medical information and to assist pharmacovigilance processes. In this article, we provide some arguments on the potential of telemedicine and mobile health (mHealth) applications to improve the delivery of health care in rural African regions. Specifically, the development of mobile telemedicine could help to lay the foundations of a healthcare approach integrating modern medical knowledge with ancient medical practices on the African continent. Access to information and communication technology (ICT), technical devices or portable media in developing countries is increasingly widespread. This can foster a complementary approach to healthcare, namely in African home-based care (AHC), in which the practice of conventional medicine takes place in an environment where belief in traditional medicine is strong. In the AHC, there are community volunteers who provide primary care and link patients with qualified medical personnel working in the nearest clinics and hospitals. These volunteers have contextual knowledge that is at the frontier of modern and traditional medicine, strongly influencing their practical approach to healthcare. The article proposes an interesting holistic look at potential applications of telemedicine in this context and examines in particular therapeutic and preventive education of toxicological aspects of medicinal plants and communication about the potential side effects of these plants.
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Bernard Kamsu-Foguem, Clovis Foguem. Could telemedicine enhance traditional medicine practices?. European Research in Telemedicine / La Recherche Européenne en Télémédecine, Elsevier Masson SAS, 2014, vol. 3 (n°3), pp. 117-123. ⟨10.1016/j.eurtel.2014.08.001⟩. ⟨hal-01154611⟩

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