Appl Clin Inform 2016; 07(04): 1025-1050
DOI: 10.4338/ACI-2016-06-R-0089
Schattauer GmbH

Telemedicine for Developing Countries

A Survey and Some Design Issues
Carlo Combi
1   Dipartimento di Informatica, Università degli Studi di Verona, Verona, Italy
Gabriele Pozzani
1   Dipartimento di Informatica, Università degli Studi di Verona, Verona, Italy
Giuseppe Pozzi
2   Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy
› Author Affiliations
Funding This work has been partially funded by Regione Veneto through the “Cooperazione decentrata allo sviluppo” program (CUP B48I13000590003, B42C14000270002), by the Department of Computer Science of the University of Verona, and by the Department of Electronics, Information, and Bioengineering of the Politecnico di Milano.
Further Information

Publication History

received: 11 June 2016

accepted: 19 September 2016

Publication Date:
18 December 2017 (online)


Background Developing countries need telemedicine applications that help in many situations, when physicians are a small number with respect to the population, when specialized physicians are not available, when patients and physicians in rural villages need assistance in the delivery of health care. Moreover, the requirements of telemedicine applications for developing countries are somewhat more demanding than for developed countries. Indeed, further social, organizational, and technical aspects need to be considered for successful telemedicine applications in developing countries.

Objective We consider all the major projects in telemedicine, devoted to developing countries, as described by the proper scientific literature. On the basis of such literature, we want to define a specific taxonomy that allows a proper classification and a fast overview of telemedicine projects in developing countries. Moreover, by considering both the literature and some recent direct experiences, we want to complete such overview by discussing some design issues to be taken into consideration when developing telemedicine software systems.

Methods We considered and reviewed the major conferences and journals in depth, and looked for reports on the telemedicine projects.

Results We provide the reader with a survey of the main projects and systems, from which we derived a taxonomy of features of telemedicine systems for developing countries. We also propose and discuss some classification criteria for design issues, based on the lessons learned in this research area.

Conclusions We highlight some challenges and recommendations to be considered when designing a telemedicine system for developing countries.

Citation: Combi C, Pozzani G, Pozzi G. Telemedicine for developing countries: a survey and some design issues.