Nowadays, practically every production sector in society has appropriated new information and communication technologies (ICT). The health sector has followed the same trend as other sectors and has been intensifying its investment in such technologies in health facilities. The potential results of this adoption will be reflected in progress in the quality of health services and greater accuracy in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. In recent years, ICT has become a critical component of improving medical care and the efficiency of the health system, as well as an important tool for helping healthcare professionals to provide better services and avoid medical mistakes. The World Health Organization (WHO) and its regional office in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), have published recommendations and strategic guidelines for the adoption of ICT in the health sector.
WHO refers to the use of ICT for health as eHealth (OMS, n/d)1 and recognizes its potential to strengthen health systems and improve healthcare quality, safety and access. eHealth also plays a crucial role in making universal health coverage possible and improving capacity building programs for healthcare professionals. More recently, WHO also recognized the role of mobile devices in the health sector and has adopted the term mHealth to describe the use of mobile wireless technologies for public health. This is strongly aligned with the growing importance of this resource in people’s daily lives and, especially, with its importance in the provision of health services and increased access to information about health. The implementation of digital health solutions has spread globally in recent years in an effort to continue enhancing the efficacy of health systems and services, and thereby improve provision of services and the quality of life of the population.
The main goal of all the effort invested in producing this publication is to disseminate methodologies and cases to facilitate the production of ICT data and statistics in the health sector. Therefore, it is our hope that public managers, academic researchers, companies in the private sector and civil society will be able to make good use of this publication, so that we can move forward with measurement initiatives that have a positive impact on the progress of public policies for ICT in the health sector, enhance the quality of health services and care, and enable more efficient management of the health systems in our countries.
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