The spread of telemedicine in Portugal: from the promised benefits to the risks of a two-speed healthcare system


  • Carlo Botrugno “L’altro diritto” RUEBES, Universidade de Florença
  • Joana R. Zózimo “L’altro diritto” RUEBES, Socius-ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa



telemedicine, telemonitoring, health information and communication technologies, online health, mobile health, health inequalities


This article’s primary goal is to analyse the policy for implementing telemedicine in the light of the possible repercussions its dissemination may have for both daily medical practice and, in more general terms, for the organisation of the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS). The authors base themselves on secondary data taken from regulations and reports published by the Ministry of Health and the European Commission, both specifically with regard to eHealth, and in relation to the broader subject of technological innovation in the health field. After assessing the main lines of the public strategy for promoting telemedicine, they highlight the desirability of a critical vision to accompany the spread of remote medical services, which is needed to avoid negative repercussions such as an increase in the trend towards the privatisation of health services and a worsening of inequalities, with the inherent danger of creating a “two-speed” healthcare system.