Miguel Porrúa, Senior eGovernment Specialist at the Organization of American States, Talks about eHealth and eGovernment at the Ninth Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information
According to the Organization of American States (OAS), eGovernment is the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to operations in the public sector to increase efficiency, transparency, and citizen participation.
In an interview, Miguel Porrúa explained that to move forward in the areas of eGovernment and eHealth, the OAS and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will work together to share experiences “through, for example, the horizontal cooperation fund for the exchange of experts and platforms for application-sharing.”
During the panel presentation "eHealth and Public Policy Strategy” at the Ninth Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information (CRICS9), Porrúa spoke about eGovernment in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In a world with 2.2 billion Internet users, 6.1 billion cell phones, and 300,000 text messages sent every second, the worlds of medicine and technology cannot travel separate paths, he said.
According to data from two studies, one by the United Nations (UNDESA) and the other by the World Economic Forum (WEF-INSEAD), only three countries in Latin American America and the Caribbean (Barbados, Chile, and Uruguay) rank among the top 50 countries worldwide in the development of electronic government.
Porrúa pointed out that 8 out of 10 countries in the Region have some kind of policy related to eGovernment. However, “progress in the international community is slow,” he added.
Nevertheless, the OAS specialist considered the outlook for electronic government to be positive. “Society, continuous technological change, and the need to lower costs will put pressure on governments to move forward” on the issue, he said, concluding that the key is political backing for investment in human and financial resources.
The Ninth Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information (CRICS9) took place on 22-24 October in Washington, D.C., organized by PAHO and its Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME). Under the slogan “eHealth: reaching universal access to health,” participants shared experiences and exchanged information on programs, projects, systems, and health science information and communication networks in the Region.