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A national survey of telemedicine in the Republic of Ireland.

J Telemed Telecare. 2007;13(7):348-51.
Maher L, Craig A, Menezes G.
Division of Radiation Therapy, School of Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

We conducted a national survey of hospitals in the Republic of Ireland to assess their use of telemedicine. Information was sought from 187 hospitals and replies were received from 157, a response rate of 84%. Activity was identified in a total of 40 hospitals (25% of the respondents). The main disciplines using telemedicine were radiology, pathology, neurosurgery, oncology and paediatrics, and the main applications were teleradiology (25 hospitals), videoconferencing (16) and telepathology (5). Dublin, the capital city, was found to act as a centre for telemedicine activity for the whole country. A number of regional networks had developed in the east, but the pattern of development in the west was very different where there were mainly isolated links. One fully operational national network was found but this was only used for consultation in one discipline (neurosurgery). It appears that the development of telemedicine in the Republic of Ireland has been unplanned. A national telemedicine strategy might lead to an integrated national network in the future, which could help to provide more equitable access to health care.

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