Made in emergency feature on March, 2020, to deepen the debate on new coronavirus pandemic fight, the Special Interest Group (SIG) COVID19 BR, from Telemedicine University Network (RUTE), concluded forty sections with the relevant target of more than two thousand participations of health professionals from countries as Italy, China, USA, Spain and Ecuador.
To celebrate the target and highlight the importance of the group in this special moment, we interviewed two SIG coordinators, Professors Dr. Gustavo Fraga, Unicamp and Professor Dr. Evelyn Eisenstein, from UERJ, and national RUTE coordinator, Dr. Luiz Ary Messina, who talked to us on the goals achieved in this period.
On days 20 and 27 of July, SIG COVID19 BR, in partnership with Brazilian Association of Telemedicine and Telehealth (ABTMs), will have special international sessions. Brazilian health professionals and researchers will have the opportunity to exchange experiences regarding pandemic fight with Russian and Chinese experts, respectively. Larn more
Which is the relevance of the group in this pandemic moment?
Messina: This SIG was created on 03/23/2020, to aid health professionals on understanding pandemics, how to fight it, which practices are used in reference hospitals in Brazil and worldwide and how to treat infected patients. So, our action was to organize a virtual space to gather professionals and spread knowledge with scientific evidence and allow discussion with experts. Professionals were in need of this scientific support, where they could discuss and ask questions for a wide range of experts.
Gustavo: The creation of this SIG was something that occurred very fast, because our group believed that was important to discuss this subject and urgently, and in the first meeting the class was full. It was created agile to fight this moment, it was necessary.
Evelyn: This group was formed since the beginning of the pandemic by initiative of RUTE and with the experience we already had in the coordination of other SIGS (in my case I am the coordinator of the Children and Teenagers SIG since 2008) and the main goal was (and still is) the exchange of information and medical knowledge on diagnosis and treatment and the most appropriate attitudes in a global pandemic.
Have they achieved expected results?
Messina: Os números respondem que sim. Organizational effort was huge. We held 41 one-hour sessions, presentation and debate with experts, 3 times a week, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon in Brasilia, since we started until 06/29. Coordination by three professors, Prof.Dr.Gustavo Fraga Unicamp, Prof.Dr.Evelyn Eisenstein UERJ, Prof.Dr.Cristiane Kopacek UFCSPA and national coordination of RUTE, Dr.Luiz Ary Messina and team. The average of participation until June was 100 participants per session. Many sessions extended until 1:30 p.m, due to the amount of questions.
Gustavo: Yes, I believe we overcame expectations! It is a group that is acting in all States of the Country, discussing actions in different phases (genetics, vaccines and we will start to discuss the return to activities now). We had even a queue of people to present themes in this SIG. We brought international expertise (from countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Israel and Qatar) that greatly contributed to the discussion and we have participants who participated in all sessions, because we are offering quality information and with people who are on the front line in research. It is already generating publications related to GIS and the own use of telemedicine itself, as well as a teaching tool, this SIG 19 has become an educational tool.
Evelyn: YES, not only we exchange national but also international expertise with professionals from Israel, Spain, Italy, Portugal, United States and even Qatar and mainly we build a network of colleagues interested and committed in the exchange of knowledge and care for population. It is important to emphasize that it is a public service with free access to professionals from all over Brazil, including young university students and academics of medicine, it is a source of data, facts and protocols and practices that work in hospitals.
What are the main results achieved and/or contribution of this SIG in the control of the pandemic (whether research, projects, sharing of expertise that aided any country, etc.)?
Messina: The experience of RUTE, which is coordinated by the RNP, National Network of Education and Research since 2006, in the organization and operation since 2015 of 55 SIGs per year, each with at least one monthly session, on average 3 daily sessions, has guaranteed the success of COVID SIG19. The sessions were always by video conference. MConf platform was used, initially developed by a research work group of UFRGS, now a service of RNP. The participation of health professionals was our thermometer, and their demands our focus. We had the participation of 52 speakers from 12 different states and 12 international speakers from 9 countries: Israel, Italy, United States, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Canada, Ecuador and Qatar.
Gustavo: Actions in telehealth are in progress, either private and public health grid, even SUS is implementing...we believe that actions as SIG contribute for better understanding of the picture, needs and urgencies for the moment we live today.
Evelyn: In 3 months of activities, since March 23rd to June 29th, we had 41 sessions and more than 1600 professionals from all Brazilian states were connected and an open network of committed professionals originated from several institutions was formed, we produced 2 publications of international interest in our work, we had several sessions that were of enormous impact, such as on indigenous health, on vaccines, on laboratory tests, on dental and nursing support and on physiotherapy and heart therapy for hospitalized patients and mainly a friendly network of solidarity has been formed among colleagues in the health area who value the exchange of experience and knowledge as the fundamental basis of science and for the construction of a better country, is what we all want technology to be an ally, especially in the very difficult times we are going through with this pandemic.
This SIG started on March, is the idea its continuity during the entire pandemic period?
Messina: From July we will have a weekly session and in August we will move to a monthly session, like most other SIGs in RUTE.
Which are the main problems found since SIG beginning?
Messina: We didn’t find difficult. As RUTE, the University Telemedicine Network, has been operational since 2006, health professionals who are members of RUTE, today 139 University and Teaching Hospitals, have become used to this practice and as the demand for new knowledge was fundamental, membership was broad and the goals were met.
Check out SIG COVID19 BR figures:
- Sessions: 41
- Registered attendances: 2170
- Distinct participants: 857
- Total of participant institutions: 135
- Participant cities: 52
- Attendance per region: Sudeste (47%) | Nordeste (18%) | Sul (15%) | Centro-Oeste (10%) | Norte (10%)
- Total Session Evaluations: 802
- Average Grade Relevance Theme in 41 Sessions: 10
- Average Grade Professional Contribution in 41 Sessions: 9.5
- Average Grade Transmission Quality in 41 Sessions: 9.0
SIG sessions occur on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, between 12:00 and 13:00.