HIMSS Latin America Webinar: "We must take advantage of the momentum we have today"

The first in a series of HIMSS webinars in Latin America, ‘National Digital health Strategy and Pandemic Management’, was held with more than 600 attendees and a panel of top-level experts, in conjunction with the Argentine Ministry of Health. The meeting was moderated by Dr Mariano Groiso, HIMSS Advisor for Latin America, and Eng. Fernando Núñez, national director of Health Governance and Integration at the Argentine Ministry of Health.

“We must take advantage of the momentum we have today to ensure that the digital transformation of healthcare remains a priority,” explained Núñez during his presentation, in which he reviewed the strategic lines and objectives of Argentina’s Federal Digital Health Plan and predicted that over the 2022-2024 period, 80% of the country’s health facilities will be connected to the National Digital Health Network.

Cintia Speranza, another official from the Argentine Ministry of Health, reported that there are 3,000,000 uniquely identified people in 90% of jurisdictions, and that six provinces have already carried out technical tests to share summaries of patient medical records.

After the enactment of the Electronic Medical Prescription and Consultation Law, Argentina has also been moving towards the development of interoperable digital prescriptions, with an architecture which is not tied to any specific provider and is independent of funders and validators, explained Martin Díaz Maffini, coordinator of the Argentine Ministry of Health’s Federal Plan for Digital Health.

In another part of the webinar, Santiago Pesci, director of Health Information at the Buenos Aires Province Ministry of Health, emphasised that “the pandemic may be an opportunity to consolidate a digital health agenda” in his region. Pesci and Analia Baum, general director of Health Information Systems at the City of Buenos Aires Ministry of Health, described the digital strategy of these regions in facing the pandemic, which includes creating management dashboards to track both the case curve and hospital bed availability, as well as promoting means of telecare services.

Claudio Giuliano, CEO of FOLKS, a partner company of HIMSS Analytics for Latin America, explains that the HIMSS Analytics EMRAM maturity model works as a roadmap which inspires and guides the industry, promotes a convergent and directed vision, encourages collective work and is not tied to any specific provider, among other benefits.

In closing, experts from four countries discussed regional experiences in the face of the pandemic. Pablo Orefice, director of Salud.uy in Uruguay, highlighted the importance of updated information to allow quick decisions. Walter Curioso, director of the ICT Committee of the Medical College of Peru and an expert in digital health at WHO, pointed out that the crisis led to a rediscovery of technology’s impact on health. Steffen Härtel, from Chile’s National Centre for Health Information Systems (CENS), stated that “today, the most ambitious objective is to train our human capital”. And Alicia Bañuelos, Minister of Science and Technology of the Province of San Luis, Argentina, underlined that advances in digitalisation “have greatly benefited us in preventing infections”.

The full recording of the HIMSS Latino america Argentina webinar can be accessed here.

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