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National Digital Health Strategies in Latin America

During the Digital Health Forum of the Central American Health Informatics Network (RECAINSA), representatives from various Latin American countries such as Argentina, Chile, Peru, presented their experiences with Digital Health strategies in their countries.

On the first day of activities of the RECAINSA Digital Health Forum, which is part of the Digital Health Week global initiative, brought together a panel of experts in Digital Health from Latin America. The specialists shared their experiences within the governments of their countries in relation to public policies and actions in favor of health and digital transformation.

Cintia Speranza representing Argentina is National Director of Health Information Systems. Since 2013, he has worked at the National Ministry of Health, promoting public policies in Digital Health, for different programs and projects. For example, the IMPULSA Federal Digital Health Program, launched in November 2020.

May Chomalí, executive director of the National Center for Health Information Systems (CENS) in Chile, who has participated in various public and private projects for digital transformation, especially in hospitals.

Styp Canto, representative of Peru, is a specialist in various Digital Health issues such as telemedicine, interoperability, big data, with more than seven years of experience. He currently works as an IT specialist in the Directorate of Telemedicine of the Ministry of Health of Peru and as vice president in the Ibero-American Association of Telehealth and Telemedicine.

The representative of Argentina highlighted the importance of the federalized system that her country has, which has been key to accepting the new standards for digital transformation and has promoted the creation of the National Digital Health Network and interoperability. "What we spread the most is that there be the largest number of possible technologies, the largest number of software providers, whether public or private, that there be developments in universities, that they be open source (technologies)," explained Speranza.

In addition, he highlighted the role of Digital Health during the pandemic, and during the vaccination processes. Finally, he explained that the next projects will be related to change management and patient-centered strategies.

Canto, representative of Peru, highlighted the achievements of telehealth and telemedicine in Peru, since more than 30 million visits have been provided since March 2020. While the numbers before the pandemic did not even exceed a thousand visits per year. In addition, he explained that professionals have had to adapt to this new mode of providing services.

Given the creation of a digital culture over the last year, the challenge for the Ministry of Health in Peru is to continue telemedicine services regardless of the pandemic and improve connectivity throughout the country.

The representative of Chile and the CENS explained the importance of health professionals being trained for digital transformation. "There were processes that have failed because there was no change management, there must be people trained in all these aspects," he explained.

The work of the CENS has recently been recognized by the Pan American Health Organization, since they have various teaching models for state HL7 FHIR, and other training areas.

In the following link you can see the complete Discussion Panel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEmtbP3KFNE

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