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Hospitals still make little use of telemedicine

Almost all Portuguese hospitals use the Internet (98.7%) and 96% of them have broadband connections, but activities related to average activity are still far from widespread, found a study released yesterday by the National Statistics Institute (INE ) for the first months of this year.

According to these data, 88.1% of Portuguese hospitals report having a presence on the Internet, with 76.3% having their own website and the remaining 31.9% integrating a Ministry website or a thematic Health Portal.

However, these sites end up being limited to basic information about the services, the medical staff and the location of the institution. The survey results show that only 8.2% of Hospitals offer the possibility to book appointments online and only 12.6% provide forms to be filled out online.

Also in Telemedicine the use is very little. Only 21.1% of hospitals practice telemedicine activities, especially teleradiology and teleconsultation, used by 83.7% and 53.1% of hospitals that use Telemedicine.

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The study also reveals that more than a fifth of hospitals exercised Telemedicine practices in the activities of Electronic Prescription (22.4%), Teledermatology (30.6%) and Telecardiology (32.7%).

The use of Telemedicine systems, powered by broadband connections, is higher in Public Hospitals than in private institutions, where only 6.5% admit to using these systems.

E-commerce purchases are also increasing. In 2009, 35.3% of hospitals placed orders for goods or services electronically, and in almost half of these establishments purchases on these platforms represent a quarter or more of the total value of purchases.