Feasibility of a clearing house for improved cooperation between telemedicine networks delivering humanitarian services: acceptability to network coordinators
AuthorWootton, Richard; Bonnardot, Laurent; Geissbuhler, Antoine; Jethwani, Kamal; Kovarik, Carrie; McGoey, Suzanne T.; Person, Donald; Vladzymyrskyy, Anton; Zolfo, Maria
Telemedicine networks, which deliver humanitarian services, sometimes need to share expertise to find particular experts in other networks. It has been suggested that a mechanism for sharing expertise between networks (a ‘clearing house’) might be useful. To propose a mechanism for implementing the clearing house concept for sharing expertise, and to confirm its feasibility in terms of acceptability to the relevant networks. We conducted a needs analysis among eight telemedicine networks delivering humanitarian services. A small proportion of consultations (5-10%) suggested that networks may experience difficulties in finding the right specialists from within their own resources. With the assistance of key stakeholders, many of whom were network coordinators, various methods of implementing a clearing house were considered. One simple solution is to establish a central database holding information about consultants who have agreed to provide help to other networks; this database could be made available to network coordinators who need a specialist when none was available in their own network. The proposed solution was examined in a desktop simulation exercise, which confirmed its feasibility and probable value. This analysis informs full-scale implementation of a clearing house, and an associated examination of its costs and benefits.
CitationGlobal health action 5(2012) s. 1-9
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