The contribution of eHealth in closing gaps in primary health care in selected countries of Latin America and the Caribbean

Maria Lima-Toivanen, Rubens Martins Pereira

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    26 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Objective: To use a newly developed framework to assess the contribution that eHealth makes to closing gaps in primary health care (PHC) and to providing person-centered, integrated PHC services in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Methods: The new assessment model for eHealth-enabled primary health care (ePHC) is called the ePHC Assessment Framework. It is based on the National eHealth Strategy Toolkit developed by the World Health Organization and the International Telecommunications Union in 2012, and the Alberta Health Primary Health Care Evaluation Framework. To validate the ePHC Assessment Framework, a pilot study was conducted in 2017 in four locations: the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the countries of Brazil, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic.

    Results: The ePHC Assessment Framework was successfully used to evaluate the building blocks of a primary health care-oriented approach to eHealth and the eHealth-enabled enhancements for management of chronic conditions needed to improve prevention and management at PHC centers in the studied locations. The study found that Brazil, Costa Rica, and Buenos Aires are clearly engaged in eHealth initiatives as part of the transformation of PHC to provide person-centered, high-quality services. As for the Dominican Republic, there was not enough evidence to verify the contribution of eHealth in improving PHC in the country.

    Conclusions: It is clear that eHealth helps improve the quality and effectiveness of the prevention and management of chronic conditions at the PHC level. To improve the foundations of ePHC, policymakers should ensure that their national eHealth strategies explicitly identify and establish the opportunities for eHealth to enable an effective PHC system to provide person-centered, integrated, high-quality services.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere188
    Pages (from-to)e188
    JournalRevista Panamericana de Salud Pública/Pan American Journal of Public Health
    Volume42
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    MoE publication typeB1 Article in a scientific magazine

    Keywords

    • health information systems
    • primary health care
    • Latin America
    • Argentina
    • Brazil
    • Costa Rica
    • Dominican Republic

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