As part of the 2016 Telehealth Congress—Region of the Americas at the Bicentenario Convention Center, in the city of Durango, state of Durango, Mexico, a roundtable was held, coordinated by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which was represented by the coordinator of its eHealth Program, Dr. David Novillo Ortiz. The roundtable included civil servants from Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, who contributed information on policy-setting, regulatory, and evaluation and coordination aspects of telemedicine that help health organizations incorporate telemedicine systems.

Congreso Telemedicina México 2016

The participants were: Dr. Sandra Eugenia Gallegos Mejía, Service Delivery and Primary Care Office of Colombia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare; Mr. Adrián Pacheco López, Director of Telehealth at Mexico’s National Center of Technological Excellence in Health; and Dr. Leonardo Rojas Mezarina, Executive Director for Health, Telehealth Office, Ministry of Health of Peru.

The roundtable highlighted the importance of continuing to work together to develop standards and standardize processes. Participants agreed their countries would carry out a joint project, coordinated by PAHO. This cooperation will identify common features in developing telemedicine in the countries represented.

The priority areas of collaboration are: promoting policy-related elements for using information technology in health, strengthening planning and project management capabilities, and incorporating monitoring and evaluation tools with features that allow for comparison. This agreement comes in the wake of the launch of a new PAHO publication at the congress on “Defining evaluation indicators for telemedicine as a tool for reducing health inequities: Study and results of a community of practice”. That publication will serve as the basis for guiding collaboration efforts between countries.

The parties to the agreement, in coordination with PAHO, will begin setting priorities for collaboration in order to establish a work plan by late August 2016, once the responsible authorities have formalized the agreement. This move will significantly benefit health organizations interested in implementing these technologies.

Reference document:

Novillo-Ortiz D (ed.). Defining evaluation indicators for telemedicine as a tool for reducing health inequities: Study and results of a community of practice. Washington (DC): PAHO; 2016.