Feasibility study launched in Bogota to improve medical access in rural areas

Date: 30 August, 2023

Bogota, Colombia, August 2023. The health system in Colombia faces challenges in terms of accessibility to medical services, especially in rural areas. For this reason, medicine is studying different options for the adoption of digital solutions that closes the gaps in medical care.

According to the latest report by the REPS (Registro Especial de Prestadores de Servicios de Salud), from December 2020 to December 2021, there will be a 25% increase in the supply of telemedicine services. In figures, this means that more than 3,360 health service providers, equivalent to 4.27% of IPS in the country, have integrated telemedicine in their offer. The Bogota Region stands out as the area with the most telemedicine services provided in comparison to the rest of Colombia’s departments.

On August 30th, the event “Empowering Health in Colombia” was held at the Javeriana University and brought together leading players in the health sector, such as local hospitals, technology partners and international medical consultants, including, University Hospital San Ignacio, Santa Fe de Bogota Foundation, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Asan Medical Center and VHS Medical Center, to launch a feasibility study on teleconsultation and the transformation of medical education for rural sectors in Colombia.

The aim of this initiative is to improve access and quality of healthcare for patients located in rural areas, focusing on complex diseases and cases, through the creation of a virtual hospital and medical education platform, which pretends to revolutionize the quality and delivery of healthcare services in Colombia.

This project is led by Sanghoon Jheon MD, PhD, president of the Asian Society for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and principal researcher of the Feasibility Study of Teleconsultation and Medical Education Platforms in Colombia. His clinical experience and career path of more than 35 years has positioned him as a leader in hospital management and healthcare innovation throughout Korea, and who sees immense potential in Colombia for the adoption of the latest technology for the medical sector.

Bogota has been recognized for its attractiveness for investment projects in health services. In the last 5 years, it received six investment projects for an approximate value of USD 39 million, equivalent to 66.7% of the total investment projects in health services received by Colombia.

“We are pleased that world-class international companies in the health sector have their eyes set on Bogota and are contributing resources to this ambitious project for Colombia and the city. Some of the most representative educational institutions in Latin America and high-level hospitals are joining this initiative that will boost the health sector, through the adoption of digital platforms aimed at a vulnerable population,” says Isabella Muñoz, executive director of Invest in Bogota, an investment promotion agency in Bogota.

The study will assess the suitability of these types of platforms for different medical settings, educational institutions and medical professionals, especially in rural areas, covering two main areas: digital teleconsultation and medical education platforms. In the case of teleconsultation, platform functionalities, potential benefits for improving access and regulatory guidelines will be considered.

In terms of medical education, the impact of health professional platforms and their integration into different medical institutions will be assessed. It will also explore the perceptions of professionals, as well as the interests and preferences of patients, and analyze the challenges facing the adoption of technological infrastructure.

The participation of local institutions and international organizations will build bridges of collaboration and joint commitment to the adoption of new technologies that will act as catalysts in the country’s healthcare ecosystem. It is expected to impact Bogota-Region in a positive way and make this project a scalable framework for further application in Latin America,” says Sanghoon Jheon MD, PhD, president of the Asian Society for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and principal investigator of the Feasibility Study of Teleconsultation and Medical Education Platforms in Colombia.

This will drive a sustainable and lasting change in the access, procurement and development of medical services and sets the stage for a future where healthcare is universally accessible, feasible and of high quality, concludes Jheon.

About Invest in Bogota

Invest in Bogota is the investment promotion agency for Bogota, a public-private initiative between the Bogota Chamber of Commerce and the Capital District. It has become the articulating entity of the entrepreneurship ecosystem; and since 2021, it integrates the Bogota Convention Bureau as a business unit to attract high-impact events for the city.

Our purpose is to facilitate relevant international investment and attract world-class meetings and events that contribute to the socio-economic development, competitiveness, and quality of life of Bogota-Region, positioning it as the preferred destination for doing business in Latin America. For six consecutive years, it has been recognized as one of the best entities in its category worldwide, and one of the four best in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, according to the international publication Site Selection in its annual Global Best to Invest Report.
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