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Conversation with Marcelo D'Agostino, Manager of the Area of Knowledge Management and Communication in PAHO and responsible for the Program of eHealth

Mr. Marcelo D'AgostinoWhich is the main objective of the Program of eHealth of PAHO? 

The main objective of this work program is to strengthen the health systems and services of our member governments, through the use of new and innovative technologies of information and communications that allow the free and equitable access to information in health sciences, to training, and to the permanent interaction, regardless of the physical distances, with emphasis on people. 

Which are the challenges and the opportunities that PAHO identifies associated to the subject of eHealth? 

The challenges that we have identified and that are cited in our conceptual model are the following ones: 

  1. The universal access to the health services with a better quality of care; 
  2. Extension of the social protection in health through health systems based on primary health care; 
  3. Availability of competent and motivated health workers; 
  4. Qualified information sources in real time for decision-making;
  5. Exchange of knowledge and information within and among scattered populations;
  6. Mobile and wireless systems for monitoring and surveillance (for example, Expanded Program on Immunization); 
  7. Objectives of learning in real time for distance learning and training in order to develop competencies and to motivate the PHC team; 
  8. Methodologies and social media tools in network for disasters and emergencies;
  9. Access to certified open access public health content; 
  10. Access to clinical services specialized in increasing the capacity in the first electronic level of care;
  11. Convergence of health initiatives throughout the world; 
  12. Web-based mobile applications for health management; 
  13. Fast changes of technology; 
  14. New digital governance function; 
  15. New models of technical cooperation in the context of the "Domestic Digital Agendas" and "electronic administration initiatives;" 
  16. Active participation in the World Summit on the society of information with emphasis on Health; 
  17. Investments in the connectivity of the national governments with the support of the development banks; 
  18. Greater interest in the public/private associations.  

This was presented by Dr. Mirta Roses, our director, within the framework of a round table on eHealth developed in 2009 during the 62 World Health Assembly organized by WHO. 

What does PAHO expect from this portal? 

This virtual forum is proposed as a forum of debate and reflection in network, that allows to share national and international experiences, projects, and lessons learned that make it possible for us to build a strategy and regional vision of eHealth.   One of the principal objectives that we have proposed ourselves with this portal is the power to know and to announce the excellent experiences and projects of our Member Governments and to be able to thus construct a social network of professionals, contents and projects of eHealth in our Region. 

What are the next steps? 

From the strategic standpoint, our next steps are the following ones: 

  1. Implement a Technical Advisory Group of the Organization on subjects of eHealth;
  2. Develop a high-level international eHealth event with the main actors, partners, and member governments to make it possible for us to advance toward a regional strategy of eHealth, governance model and digital agenda; 
  3. Act in network so that our member governments benefit from this new way of working and can optimize development and adoption of technologies of information and innovative communications on behalf of Public Health;
  4. Strengthen our work program through partnerships with institutions with expertise in eHealth.  I invite you to read the eSAC project which we are working on along with IDRC and the University of Toronto, Canada;  
  5. Promote the use of our portal as the main space of convergence of initiatives of eHealth in the Region of the Americas.


eHealth Program
Department of Knowledge Management, Bioethics and Research
Pan American Health Organization
525 23rd ST NW, 20037, Washington DC, US

Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization
525 Twenty-third Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, United States of America
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