Page 4 - Telehealth
P. 4

FOREWORD

                                      HÉCTOR MARIO CARRIL

                                      Chair of the Working Group on Basic and Universal
                                      Telecommunication Services of CITEL (1998-2002)

The Book on Telehealth in the Americas is the outcome of efforts made by the Working Group
on Basic and Universal Telecommunication Services of CITEL, following the example of
previous books: Universal Service in the Americas and Tele-education in the Americas.

In this Working Group we had observed that one of the objectives of the policies of universal
access was aimed at extending different applications of other services with the support of
computer technologies and telecommunications, which are in turn essential to meet the basic
needs of the population, including as an alternative to other service delivery schemes
involving higher costs or lesser scope in terms of the number of the users covered.

Furthermore, Telehealth in itself implies an advance in improving welfare delivery practices
and methods, as well as teaching and disseminating medical breakthroughs to a higher
number of users, whether professionals, other health workers, patients, or the entire
popul ation benefiting from various health programs.

With this book we intend to show the many telehealth projects being implemented in the
different countries of the Americas, differentiating the means that each project can afford, the
activities, the areas, and the specialties of the value-added services provided using distance
schemes, and examining the different sources of funding. We also provide a brief description
of the health situation in the countries of the Americas so as to have elements for comparison
and determine the investment efforts made in the health sector. Finally, we give an idea of
the investments made in the telecommunication sector, as well as an overview of the facilities
that are available for the implementation of telemedicine and telehealth projects in general.

Our aspiration is to visualize and analyze how the different countries and their institutions,
whether public or from civil society, the academic sector or private enterprise, have been
trained to manage information and communication technology (ICTs) in the health sector,
especially for telehealth activities and services.

In this publication, the reader will find descriptions of a range of projects, from the most
advanced and recently implemented to the first historical documents on the budding
application of medicine combined with telecommunications in Latin America, such as the use
of television at the VII International Congress on Surgery, held in Buenos Aires in 1950, for
the live transmission of operations conducted at the School of Medicine of the city’s National
University.

The attendance of high-ranking national authorities of the Argentine Republic at that event,
especially the Minister of Health of the Nation, Dr. Ramón Carrillo, and the First Lady, María
Eva Duarte de Perón, highlighted the importance, in terms of state policy, that was being
given at the time to the newly forged alliance between telecommunications and medicine.

In this book we are also presenting several other projects, such as publications, symposiums,
and seminars on telehealth by international telecommunication and health organizations, as
well as by private telecommunication companies and associations. The main publications in
this field issued by the Pan American Health Organization, the Worl d Health Organization, the
International Telecommunication Union, and the Latin American Association of Research
Centers and Telecommunication Enterprises, can also be found here.

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