The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) www.bidmc.org and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have signed an agreement to support the advancement of eHealth in Latin America and the Caribbean. PAHO as the specialized health agency of the Inter-American System serves as the Regional Office for the Americas for the World Health Organization (WHO) www.who.int.
Yuri Quintana, PhD Director of Global Health Informatics leading BIDMC’s efforts said, “The collaboration will let us tap into the vast expertise of BIDMC’s informatics division and clinicians as well as the entire Harvard community.”
He adds, “I’ll be looking at the institutions, care providers, patients, and the information that flows among them with the goal to determine how technology can facilitate communication, education, and care coordination.”
Quintana will work with his technical counterpart, David Novillo, PAHO eHealth Program Coordinator on eHealth training strategies to develop research priorities and publications for use in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“We’ll be studying how different implementations in different countries can be adapted to fit local needs,” said Quintana. “We are going to examine how effectively communicating best practices can help improve outcomes while reducing costs.”
Quintana and Novillo will begin the study by looking at newborn and maternal health. According to Quintana, “Progress has been made, but in some countries there are still infant mortality rates as high as 30 to 40 percent in areas where there are fewer services but telemedicine and eHealth can be used to help reduce mortality rates for newborns.”
Quintana will collaborate with BIDMC clinicians Charles Safran, MD, Chief of the Division of Clinical Informatics, James Gray MD, Neonatologist, and Hope Ricciotti, MD, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Drs. Safran and Gray developed one of the world’s first telemedicine applications for neonatal care called Baby CareLink in 1996.
Ultimately, the partnership will provide increased technical support to the Governments of the region in the area of eHealth within the framework of the PAHO eHealth Strategy and Plan of Action (2012-2017) and the PAHO/WHO 2014-2019 Strategic Plan.
Go to www.paho.org/ict4health/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view for the “PAHO/WHO -2014-2019 Strategic Plan”. For the PAHO eHealth Strategy and Plan of Action (2012-2017). Go to www.paho.org