Mobile broadband key for ehealth in Latin America, says 5G Americas
September 14, 2016
Mobile broadband networks provide a tremendous opportunity to enable the expansion of ehealth services in rural and low-income areas in Latin America, according a white paper published by 5G Americas.
The rapid expansion of wireless networks coupled with the speeds offered by 4G enable the deployment of advanced technology for e-medicine, it says.
Wireless telecommunications services provide an opportunity to enhance ehealth services based on their capacity to expand coverage to sectors of the population that are distant from major urban centres. Hence, they become a significant tool to help societies’ economic and social development.
“By creating new conditions to enhance the deployment and adoption of wireless broadband technologies, governments also increase the number of entities that can benefit from ehealth and e-medicine services and applications,” said José Otero, director of 5G Americas for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Wireless connections with very low latencies transmitting data at high speed could enable these services for surgical procedures or others requiring prompt diagnoses. To achieve it, adequate conditions are required for technologies like LTE and LTE-A to expand their coverage in the different markets in the region.”
The paper stresses the importance for governments to strive to achieve participation of more market players in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in their ehealth initiatives, expanding their presence not only by connectivity but also by creating or promoting applications and content to such ends.
Mobile applications for ehealth will gain further importance in the mid-term as mobile technology for the cellular IoT is deployed.
Mobile broadband services play an important role in the preventive phase of ehealth. The recent proliferation of applications aimed at checking and preventing various diseases are an opportunity to render these practices commonplace, mainly from higher penetration of smartphones in the markets.
The document underscores the importance of increasing cooperation between governments, the ICT and health sectors to enhance access to health services for the population at large. The joint work between the public and private sectors is a necessary step in improving health-related practices, with each sector playing a unique role that enables their development.
The report reflects the views from different international bodies, such as the Economic Commission for Latin America & the Caribbean, the Pan-American Health Organization, the UN Programme for Development, the World Health Organisation and the International Telecommunications Union.