Key facts

  • Mobile lines average 108.5 per 100 inhabitants in the Region of the Americas (ITU data).
  • 45% of surveyed countries in the Americas report having an eHealth policy.
  • 82% report having legislation in place on the confidentiality of personal data.
  • 82% report using distance learning (or eLearning) in health sciences education.
  • 91% acknowledge using distance learning to train health professionals.

eHealth uses information and communication technologies to improve outcomes and increase cost-effectiveness in health and health-related fields, including healthcare services, health surveillance, health literature, health education, knowledge and research. Among the most promising areas of eHealth are electronic health records, teleHealth (including telemedicine), mHealth (using mobile devices in health), eLearning (including distance learning), continuing education in information and communication technologies, standardization and interoperability, social media and big data.

The Region of the Americas was the first WHO region to adopt a common eHealth Strategy and Plan of Action.

Key PAHO actions

  • Since 2011, PAHO has sponsored several technical cooperation projects and hundreds of activities related to eHealth, including projects, events, technical consultations and coordinating activities with other United Nations entities.
  • PAHO's current technical cooperation on eHealth includes support for the development, implementation and execution of national eHealth strategies in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago. PAHO is also working in this area with Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean countries, Canada, Colombia, the United States and Haiti.
  • PAHO has established a regional eHealth laboratory as a venue for information and knowledge sharing, research, promotion, and discussion of objectives and strategies on the application of information and communication technologies for public health (https://www.paho.org/ict4health).
  • PAHO has advanced strategic partnerships to support eHealth development including three collaborating centers on eHealth (at the Center for Global Health of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the College of Pharmacy Center for Consumer Health Informatics Research at Nova Southeastern University, and the Italian Hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina). PAHO also has MoUs with the Organization of American States (OAS), the University of Illinois and Oberta University of Catalonia.

Regional eHealth strategy

PAHO member countries in 2012 adopted an eHealth Strategy and Plan of Action in which they agreed to:

  • Formulate, carry out and evaluate effective, comprehensive and sustainable public policies on the use of information and communication technologies in the health sector.
  • Improve public health through Big Data and the use of tools and methodologies based on innovative information and communication technologies.
  • Promote and facilitate horizontal cooperation among countries for development of a digital health agenda for the region.
  • Promote knowledge management, digital literacy, and education and training in information and communication technologies as key elements for ensuring the quality of care, supporting health promotion and disease prevention activities, and guaranteeing better access to information.

For more information, visit www.paho.org/ehealth


(Last update: March 2015.)