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eHealth: Harnessing technology on the road towards universal health coverage

File Created On:
August, 2014

Source: Pan-American Journal of Public Health

There are numerous data sources that offer information on the health of a community. Traditional sources, such as hospitals and clinics, provide relatively reliable inputs to existing health-monitoring systems, but often give a delayed or incomplete picture. Additional data sources, such as school and work attendance, veterinary clinics, social media, pharmaceutical sales, and climate-related data do not capture as much information on their own. However, with new technologies, multiple traditional and nontraditional sources can be combined, thus providing a more rapid, reliable, and actionable picture of the community’s health than is possible with clinical data alone […] The vision of providing universal health coverage in the Region of the Americas means moving towards broader and better health services and ensuring that the entire population has access to affordable services. eHealth—the use of ICT to support health—can play a major role. Wisely used and widely applied, eHealth can be a strategic tool for improving access, expanding coverage, and increasing the financial efficiency of health care systems. ICTs are already revolutionizing access to quality comprehensive care, bridging many difficulties and enabling primary care to resolve more health issues. ICTs link the integrated networks of care, permitting faster, easier referrals to specialists and secondary levels of care. Numerous other uses relate to health information records and systems, training and capacity building for frontline health workers, and even, accountability mechanisms.