Hundreds of professionals, from government, academy and private sectors that deal with telemedicine, telehealth and digital health met in São Paulo, Brazil, from April 4 to 6, 2019, at the Centro de Convenções Transamérica, in order to participate of the Global Summit Telemedicine & Digital Health. The event was a place for discussion and exchange of knowledge, experiences, new concepts and ideas related to innovation, technology and enterprises in health.
The Congress was coordinated by the Associação Paulista de Medicina. Around 1,500 professionals from 13 countries and 123 speakers participated in the event. The scientific committee was composed of representatives from international and national institutions, putting together a program formed by master conferences, discussion panels and presentations. BIREME was represented by its Director, Dr. Diego González Machín, who also moderated a panel entitled “Telemedicine and Telehealth: what cannot go missing”.
During the presentation of the panel, Dr. González mentioned the importance of the topic, considering that the next day would be the celebration of World Health Day, which, this year, focused on universal health, under the theme “Universal health: Everyone, everywhere”. Dr. González also mentioned the importance of information and communication technologies in order to contribute to the strengthening of primary health care and to support access to health services in remote regions.
The panel had four presentations from representatives of the health sector at county level, private companies and BIREME. They showed the advances on the use of robotics for health care, methods and guides for the development of telehealth programs and services, and the use of health technologies for improving the cost-effectiveness ratio.
Also representing BIREME, Ms. Verónica Abdala, Manager of Services and Information Sources, made two presentations. One was entitled “Evidence, Telehealth and Primary Care”, and had as central axis the Primary Health Care Virtual Library (Biblioteca Virtual em Saúde Atenção Primária à Saúde, BVS APS), a project that has been under development since 2007 by BIREME and the Brazilian Ministry of Health. The project seeks to provide a broad access to scientific knowledge relevant for PHC and to support activities of teleconsulting, tele-diagnosis and tele- education that take place within the country’s Unified Health System (SUS).
According to Ms. Abdala, “it is gratifying to be able, through this project, to give visibility to Second Formative Opinions and to be able to provide health professionals with answers to the questions that arise in their daily practice. In this manner, we contribute to raise the capacity for resolution of other professionals in similar situations”. Over 1,300 SFO are available in the BVS APS. Before being published they go through a selection, elaboration and approval process during which multiple professionals intervene. For more information, access the BVS APS portal.
Representing Renato Murasaki, Information Technology Manager, Verónica Abdala presented the initiative “VHL Infobutton: scientific evidence in the context of electronic registration systems in health”. The focus of the presentation is a product that BIREME is developing, called the VHL-Infobutton, for facilitating the use of evidence as a support for clinical decision. The infobutton, in a simplified description, is a standardized mechanism for clinical information systems to request information from information resources/sources available online and that are specific to a certain clinical context.
According to Renato Murasaki, “with this tool we can support health personnel during patient care with scientific evidence related to the information in the electronic clinical history. Currently, the VHL-Infobutton is being tested in the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center, the Italian Hospital of Buenos Aires, which supports us in improving this service in accordance to its real use by health professionals”.
Many of the topics presented at the event have motivated publications and systematic revisions and have been present in PAHO’s e-Health Strategy and Plans of Action.
José Luis Gómez Amaral, President of the Associação Paulista de Medicina and the Global Summit Telemedicine & Digital Health 2019 stated that “considering the transformative potential of the Global Summit 2019, it could not have been done without the participation of BIREME, an institution which is always present in knowledge evolution and professional development in the health area”.
According to Dr. González, Director of BIREME, “it is our duty to place these technological advances in health at the service of health technicians and professionals that are at the leading front of health care, thus contributing to the main objective of LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND”.