By Aghata Gerlo

As part of the Regional e-Health Strategy and Action Plan being developed by the OPS, the specialist in Networks, Technical Cooperation and Associations, Myrna Marti, invited a group of members and associates of the OPS/OMS with specializations in the area to a meeting with a Public eHealth Expert from the University of Toronto, Canada; Andrea Cortinois.

Attendees included representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Hospital Italiano and universities such as Isalud and the Universidad de Rosario, amongst others. “The purpose of the expert’s visit is to evaluate the possibility of a partnership between Argentina and the OPS in the field of e-Health and also the possibility of actively incorporating Argentina into the E-Sac project: e-Health and equality, financed by the International Development Research Center of Canada,” Marti said in a statement. Andrea Cortinois, co-director, along with Giselle Ricur, of the E-Sac project, explained the key aspects of the project and emphasized the need for equality in the right to healthcare on a global level. A second round table was held to discuss and share opinions on the possibility of creating an e-Health plan in Argentina. Some of the conclusions stated that the country needs more experts in the subject who can work to implement these plans, and also that policies in this regard need to be better defined. The subject of poverty and inequality of access to healthcare services at the national level in areas such as Puna was also presented as a problem which might significantly benefit from the use of eHealth tools such as telemedicine or the implementation of a single electronic health record. After two hours of intense debate, it was decided that the formation of an e-Health plan in Argentina is both viable and necessary. In fact one of the points found in the OPS’s eHEALTH STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN is that a study carried out in 2010 to find out about the existence of policies, strategies and legislation on information technologies and communication in healthcare in the Americas “revealed that in 68% of these countries (the 19 surveyed included Argentina, Chile and Brazil), eHealth is an agenda priority and that 47% have a policy or strategy for the use of information technologies and communication in healthcare.”