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University Connected Learning
Telehealth is understood as the remote provision of health services using any long-distance communication device, but particularly information communication technology. Emerging new technologies like the radio and the telephone at the end of the XIX and the beginning of the XX century created the possibility of offering a remote, and unusual, form of medical care; however, due to excessive costs and technical difficulties –and because a value exchange could not be generated-, didn’t get any attention from professional medical associations. The first modern transmission of medical information by electronic means, took place in Pennsylvania in 1946, when radiography was sent through the phone lines. However, telehealth remained as a technical curiosity and as an ineffective and irrelevant form of care for the following 50 years, when advances in ICT allowed an increasingly faster diffusion of telehealth innovation To cope with the potential disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic could cause, health authorities made a general call to “flatten the curve”, an expression that implied releasing pressure from health systems to better cope with the pandemic. To achieve that, health systems focused on ensuring a fluid provision of emergency care while delaying non-time-sensitive services, such as outpatient services and planned surgeries. That approach, in many instances, forced health systems to use telehealth more frequently to ensure continuity of care for many patients in need and afraid to visit health facilities. Telehealth is no longer a marginal approach for Healthcare. It is increasingly considered an essential vehicle to provide care to the general population. It is likely it is here to stay during the current times and beyond. The MHA and DBMI programs have put together a multi-professional team to provide a comprehensive approach in telehealth education that includes a wide perspective that covers legal, ethical, service delivery, and financial aspects of telehealth services.