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Beth Israel Leading eHealth Initiative in Latin America

December 24, 2015
by Heather Landi
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Boston-based health system Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is collaborating with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization on a project to advance eHealth in Latin America and the Caribbean.

BIDMC’s Division of Clinical Informatics will be involved in the project, which will be led by Director of Global Health Informatics Yuri Quintana. The project will initially focus on newborns and maternal health.

“This collaboration will allow us to tap into the vast expertise of BIDMC’s informatics division and clinicians, as well as the entire Harvard community,” Quintana said in a statement. “As a systems design engineer, I’ll be looking at the institutions, care providers and patients and the information that flows among them with the goal of determining how technology can facilitate communication, education and care coordination.”

Quintana will work with his technical counterpart, David Novillo, PAHO eHealth Program Coordinator, on eHealth training strategies and the development of research priorities and publications for use in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We’ll be studying how different implementations in different countries are adapted to fit local needs. We’ll then examine how effectively communicating best practices can help improve outcomes while reducing costs,” Quintana said.

The project’s focus on maternal-fetal medicine ties into one of the United Nations millennial goals to reduce infant mortality.

“Progress has been made, but in some countries there are still infant mortality rates as high as 30 to 40 percent in areas where there are fewer services. This problem lends itself to telemedicine and eHealth because technology can connect experts where they’re needed and when they’re needed,” Quintana said.

Quintana will collaborate with BIDMC clinicians Charles Safran, M.D., chief of the division of clinical informatics, James Gray, M.D., neonatologist, and Hope Ricciotti, M.D., chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology. Drs. Safran and Gray developed one of the world’s first telemedicine applications for neonatal care called Baby CareLink in 1996.



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