|Reaching Universal Access to Health: Progress in eHealth in the Americas|
Washington, D.C., December 17, 2012 (PAHO/WHO).– To promote the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health, and thereby foster universal access to health in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) has carried out a series of activities over the past year. It provided technical cooperation to 16 countries to facilitate eHealth policy-making and train dozens of health professionals and educators in how to use social networks, access information resources, and take advantage of mobile devices to prevent childhood obesity.
In September 2011, the 51st Directing Council of PAHO/WHO endorsed a strategy urging the Organization to work to improve health service accessibility and quality through the use of ICTs.
According to Walter Curioso, Director-General of the Statistics and Information Office of Peru’s Ministry of Health, PAHO plays a very important role in strengthening national eHealth strategies and information systems. Verónica Granizo, the computer technician in charge of the health system at the Escuela Superior Politécnica de Chimborazo in Ecuador, stated that PAHO will provide assistance in the areas of legislation and the standardization of processes to facilitate implementation of eHealth systems at the regional and international level.
During the past year, PAHO/WHO’s work in eHealth has focused on six areas:
Looking to the Future:
To ensure that technical cooperation is innovative and considers the state of the art in ICT for public health, PAHO has launched the “eHealth Conversations” project, bringing together more than 400 professionals to brainstorm and discuss the present and future of these topics. The main purpose of these virtual dialogues is to produce a series of publications that will serve as guides for decision-making in health systems within the framework of information societies.
“To date, progress on the eHealth Strategy and Plan of Action has been based on the indicators established in that document, representing a critical link in the implementation of ICTs in public health in the Region and a start to promising years of implementation. This has been important, and I would like to acknowledge the support provided by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation in implementing the regional eHealth strategy,” said Marcelo D’Agostino, Manager of Knowledge Management and Communication at PAHO/WHO.
Some components of eHealth are electronic medical records; telehealth, or distance health service delivery through use of information technologies; mHealth, or the use of mobile devices to monitor patients and promote health care; eLearning, or distance learning made possible by information technologies; continuing education in ICT for health professionals; and interoperability and standardization, implying that all technologies in this area are compatible and follow the same standards in eHealth.
PAHO, which is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year, is the world’s oldest public health organization. It works with all the countries in the Hemisphere to improve the health and quality of life of the peoples of the Americas and serves as the WHO Regional Office for the Americas.
PAHO/WHO is grateful for the support and commitment of the
Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID).
Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization
525 Twenty-third Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, USA
Tel.: +1 (202) 974-3000 Fax: +1 (202) 974-3663
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