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Ultra-high definition video aids training of surgeons in Brazil

Image courtesy Magnus Nascimento.

NUANCE recently reported how the Brazilian National Research and Education Network is using ultra-high definition video footage of surgical procedures to help train health professionals across the country. The technology also enables remote monitoring of patients, as well as remote consultation and diagnosis...

The Brazilian National Research and Education Network (RNP) provides advanced communication infrastructure and facilitates the building of communities of users in more than 800 education and research institutions in Brazil, giving access to over 3.5 million users. RNP continues to shine as it takes the health sector in the country to another level through the Telemedicine University Network (RUTE).

RUTE began in 2006 and now has 78 telemedicine centers connected and in full operation. It is expanding to integrate - via RNP - 150 centers in all national university hospitals and public teaching hospitals. It supports special interest groups in the areas of primary health care, cardiology, radiology, nursing, ophthalmology, child health, rehabilitation, orthopedics, trauma, and indigenous health - among others.

Early this year, Brazil hosted the first real-time broadcast of a heart surgery in ultra-high definition. The operation was conducted at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) in Natal. Also known as 4K, the technology used allows one to generate images at a resolution four times greater than 'high definition'.

"RNP is working on applications of 4K in a wide range of areas. We have now made a demonstration related to telemedicine, our next plans are to expand to other areas such as astronomy, digital cinema, dance, etc." explains Leandro Ciuffo, manager of research and development at RNP.

The real-time surgery broadcast was monitored remotely at all RUTE centers by physicians, health researchers, and technology professionals. "The doctors and students were able to see details of the surgery that often are not seen even by the medical team in the operating room. Imagine viewing an enlarged heart at 6 feet," says Ciuffo. He explains that the technology has already been tested and is available for use. It now depends on investment for its further popularization.

- Luiz Ary Messina, Coordinator of RUTE

- A longer version of this article was originally published in NUANCE: The Newsletter of the UbuntuNet Alliance: Networks, Collaboration, Education under the title 'Brazilian NREN offers cutting edge e-services to health sector'.

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