By Arthur Barbalho (Ascom/LAIS)

Focusing on the discussion of digital health in Latin American countries, the second day of the 3rd International Conference on Innovation in Health (CIIS 2022) ended with a lecture by the coordinator of the Technical Unit of Human Capabilities in Health of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Roberto Tapia Hidalgo. The Chilean minister spoke on the theme “The Importance of Digital Health in the Global Context”, presenting an overview of the challenges, especially in recent years, with the emergence of covid-19.

The PAHO representative opened his speech highlighting current vaccination data in South America, especially in Brazil. In the sequence, Tapia Hidalgo reinforced beyond the impact on the health issue, the pandemic directly influenced the economic results of Latin American countries. “Beyond the issue of public health, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean region suffered a strong economic impact, and much of this scenario is due to the absence of digital health solutions,” he said.

For Tapia, digital health has made all the difference in the ability to respond to the coronavirus problem in the region. “Countries and regions where there was strong investment in infrastructure and human resources for digital health were better able to face the pandemic,” he said.

Also according to the PAHO representative at the conference, the global public health context has demanded a greater need for governance, regulation, and privacy of the use of health data. He also argued that the time has come for digital transformation for the sector. “The challenge now is for health systems and services to keep up with technology, as information increasingly needs to be captured, managed, analyzed, and worked with at all levels of public health. There is an increasing need to incorporate health professionals and communities in this process, and it is up to governments and managers to regulate, provide transparency, and promote this digital transformation for health,” concluded Tapia.