The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Spanish Health Informatics Society (SEIS) presented today an E-Health Handbook for Health Services and System Managers (available in Spanish) during the 15th National Conference on Health Informatics, currently being held in Madrid, Spain until 22 March.
The book was created by a multidisciplinary team consisting of 38 Latin American and European specialists gathered by ECLAC and SEIS under the @LIS2 Programme, "Alliance for the Information Society, phase 2 - Inclusive Political Dialogue and Exchange of Experiences", financed by the European Commission.
The document is divided into 19 chapters elaborating on topics such as electronic clinical records, digital pathology, tele-radiology, interoperability, electronic management of pharmacotherapy and the international exchange of clinical information.
Likewise, the handbook presents the experience of Brazil regarding e-learning in the health sector, and describes the corporate project on e-health in the autonomous community of Navarre, Spain, launched in the 1980s and still in force.
"This e-health handbook for seniors of health services and systems represents an input to the decision-making process for incorporating information and communication technologies (ICTs) in public health strategies," said Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, and Luciano Sáez, President of the Spanish Health Informatics Society (SEIS).
According to both senior officials, "the leadership of health authorities is key for formulating regulatory frameworks that support the re-design of traditional working processes, as well as for articulating the concerns and needs of a broad range of stakeholders" in this sector.
Incorporating ICTs into health systems (e-Health) responds to a public policy decision aiming to improve effectiveness and efficiency within the sector, as stated in the handbook coordinated byAndrés Fernández from ECLAC and Javier Carnicero from SEIS.
The work - available for free on ECLAC's website - contributes to clarifying concepts; defining applications and functionality; identifying benefits; and alerting seniors of health services and other decision makers on the possible risks and difficulties when adopting ICTs.
According to the Document, the greatest challenge in Europe is likely to be the growing demand of healthcare among chronically ill patients due to the ageing of the population.
On the other hand, in Latin America and the Caribbean, it is paramount to improve the access of patients to timely and quality healthcare - currently hindered both by social inequalities and the geographical dispersion of the population.
The 15th National Conference on Health Informatics opened on Tuesday in Madrid, Spain, is organized by SEIS and the ECLAC@LIS2 project, co-financed by the European Union.