The Director-General of the Office of Computer Statistics of the Ministry of Health of Peru, Walter Curioso, shares experiences and advances in Telehealth in Peru in his presentation at the 9th Regional Congress on Health Information Sciences (CRICS9).
During his presentation to the panel on “Telehealth Experiences in Latin America,” Dr. Curioso defined telehealth as a tool “that makes it possible for us to make health more accessible to the population, especially where distance is a barrier to receiving health care.”
Since 2005, Peru has a decree that sets standards of health information and a National Plan for Telehealth, jointly developed by the ministry of health and other institutions, such as the ministry of statistics, the ministry of computer science, and others.
Despite the availability of these tools, Dr. Curioso stressed that they should be complemented with other fundamental components such as policy development; implementation of eHealth standards; investment in health; training of human resources for continuous quality improvement of health data; and others.
Telehealth in Peru is based on three fundamental linchpins: better access to health services and quality of care; integrating information systems and communication; and promoting the continuing education of health workers.
Taking these principles as a framework, there have been several different telehealth initiatives developed in Peru. Dr. Curioso gave several examples, such as the Wawared project, a mobile health (mSalud) initiative aimed at increasing the access to health systems for pregnant women with limited resources, through using text messages to supply maternal and child information. This project tries to reduce cases of maternal mortality and promote improvement of maternal and child health.
Another mSalud initiative is Muevete Perú Móvil, through which the ministry of health tries to promote healthy lifestyles such as physical activity through text messages (SMS). “Mobile Health tries to bring in people who are dispersed, building social inclusion with mobile technologies,” said Dr. Curioso.
The Information System for Recording of Live Birth Certificates on-line is another telehealth initiative being developed in Peru. This innovative project with the slogan “My Right to Identity” allows for immediate registry of the newborn and its mother right in the delivery room, with the inclusion of data on the health workers participating in the delivery. Dr. Curioso described it as an easy-to-use system requiring only a computer, Internet access, and a printer. He reported that it is already being used in 44 establishments and is expected by the end of the year to be in use in 150 additional establishments.
This system for web registry of live births, coordinated between the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and the National Registry for Identity and Marital Status (Reniec), will avoid errors from omission of data and imprecise statistics. It will replace the manual registry of live birth certificates. And each certificate will be issued with a identification number for the newborn (PRE-CUI).
This software is linked to the Medical School of Peru (CMP) for the information to be certified by health professionals and for it to interact with other databases of various professional associations, which constitutes a security guarantee for the patient.
Dr. Curioso highlighted this initiative as a major step for social inclusion since it also allows for real-time real-time incorporation of newborns into Comprehensive Health Insurance (SIS).
The ninth Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information (CRICS9) took place from 22 to 24 October in Washington, D.C., and was organized by PAHO/WHO and its Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME). Under the slogan “eHealth: reaching universal access to health,” the participants shared experiences and shared information on programs, projects, systems, and networks for scientific information and communication in health in the Region.