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J Med Internet Res. 2019 Dec 18;21(12):e16513. doi: 10.2196/16513.

Building Capacity and Training for Digital Health: Challenges and Opportunities in Latin America.

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1
Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States.

Abstract

Tackling global health challenges demands the appropriate use of available technologies. Although digital health could significantly improve health care access, use, quality, and outcomes, realizing this possibility requires personnel trained in digital health. There is growing evidence of the benefits of digital health for improving the performance of health systems and outcomes in developed countries. However, significant gaps remain in resource-constrained settings. Technological and socio-cultural disparities between different regions or between provinces within the same country are prevalent. Rural areas, where the promise and need are highest, are particularly deprived. In Latin America, there is an unmet need for training and building the capacity of professionals in digital health. This viewpoint paper aims to present a selection of experiences in building digital health capacity in Latin America to illustrate a series of challenges and opportunities for strengthening digital health training programs in resource-constrained environments. These describe how a successful digital health ecosystem for Latin America requires culturally relevant and collaborative research and training programs in digital health. These programs should be responsive to the needs of all relevant regional stakeholders, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, industry, academic or research entities, professional societies, and communities. This paper highlights the role that collaborative partnerships can play in sharing resources, experiences, and lessons learned between countries to optimize training and research opportunities in Latin America.

KEYWORDS:

Latin America; Peru; capacity building; digital health; education; public health; telehealth; training program

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