Working towards the integration of ICTs in regional healthcare systems
Erica Rosolen is the young director of the TICSA study center at ISALUD University. After living for ten years in Italy working for the Dedalus Healthcare Systems Group; a company with five hundred employees focused on healthcare systems, cloud computing in healthcare and hospital computer systems, this young Argentine professional wanted to return home. So she decided to accept an invitation issued by the Programa Raices run by the Argentine Ministry of Science and Technology which seeks to use international cooperation to strengthen the national production system. Thanks to her proposal, she was selected to form part of a group of scientists and professionals to be repatriated. Her proposal also put her in contact with ISALUD University which was creating a new space to build links between the university and international bodies related to activity in the health information technology and communications sector.
She is currently the director of this group, which she describes as “an open university space, set up to study the use of ICTs in healthcare and their integration with regional healthcare systems, in partnership with each subsector, in public, social security and private healthcare systems.”
To find out a little more about the group, which is already a major player in healthcare ICTs in the region, EHealth Reporter Latin America interviewed Doctor Rosolen.
EHealth Reporter Latin America: Why was TICSA founded?
Erica Rosolen: The idea came from Dr. Santiago Spadafora, Secretary of the University Extension of ISALUD University, a doctor specializing in Hospital Administration and Director of the post-graduate course in that specialization. The University offers assessments and technical assistance to healthcare service providers and organizations and right now what is most needed are projects that incorporate information and communications technologies.
After coming to this assessment, the University decided to form an interdisciplinary space that might serve as a point of reference for those working on ICTs in healthcare.
EHRLA: What does the space consist of?
ER: A group of expert volunteers; we meet every week in order to develop research paths that can help to create and further knowledge about the application of ICTs in healthcare and to promote new knowledge, projects and experiences related to the subject.
EHRLA: How successful were the First Healthcare ICT Events held on the 22nd of June this year?
ER: Those meetings were an opportunity to officially inaugurate the ISALUD TICSA Study and Research Center, and also to hold the meeting for the ELAC 2015 international working group on ICTs and Healthcare, in which the University holds a vice-presidency, to progress with the group’s 2013 work plan.
EHRLA: Tell us a little more about ELAC 2015
ER: It is a forum coordinated by CEPAL which has a regional action plan to encourage governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to support information and communications technologies as drivers of more equitable development. It is not just focused on healthcare, but aims to provide universal access to high quality broadband and incorporate ICTs into production activities, public services, education, healthcare and government.
EHRLA: What other regional initiatives are you involved with?
ER: At TICSA we are working with the OPS (Panamerican Health Organization) to implement the Strategy and Action Plan for eHealth in the Americas, which seeks to develop a regional mechanism that ensures the convergence of local, national and regional initiatives related to the development, adoption and application of ICTs for public healthcare, as well as supporting decision makers so that they can create the conditions that will be necessary in the near future. On the OPS project entitled “Conversations about eHealth”, TICSA takes a leading role in and moderates the following dialogues: eHealth Management, Patient Safety and Legal Issues. We should bear in mind that these activities are based on different components of the regional eHealth strategy.
EHRLA: Will TICSA also provide training workshops?
ER: Yes, it is our primary purpose. We have a team of professionals who are very well trained in the area and can provide consultancy, technical assistance and training at every level of management at organizations that govern, finance and supply healthcare services. Our contribution is aimed at facilitating the implementation of ICTs by encouraging, developing and implementing projects to improve the performance of these organizations.
EHRLA: As a university, what plans do you have with regard to education in the use of ICTs in Healthcare?
ER: We are putting together a series of training programs in different formats, aimed at the operational and management levels of organizations that govern, finance and supply healthcare services, to provide them with the tools to improve their performance. To give a recent example, as part of the 11th Hospital Training Days at ExpoMedical 2012, the University organized the Conference “Implementation of an Electronic Health Record system at the Primary Level of Public Healthcare. A Successful Case Study in Salta Province”, which almost 300 people attended. Furthermore, we have incorporated the issue of ICTs in some of the University’s academic programs and launched a course in Healthcare Information Technology.