Globalizing Health Knowledge

An article from Dr. Alexandre Gouveia from Portugal shares a message on behalf of the 2nd Annual Virtual Congress of General Practice and Family Medicine.
” Tell me, I forget.
Show me, I remember.
Involve me, I understand.
Chinese proverb
The ever changing essence of knowledge and continuous seeking for new discoveries have driven mankind to a tenacious dedication for unveiling the paths and boundaries of the human body. The extent of our knowledge about ourselves has incredibly reached the genetic book of life, allowing in a certain way to forecast the future. But is this immense knowledge leading us to higher levels of health literacy?
Nowadays, citizens are empowered through the fast access to information, and the gap between patients and health information has significantly been curtailed. Health related searches on the internet have increased over the past few years, and online communities of patients, that have physically never met, are flourishing at a fast pace. These current trends of the information and communication technologies are changing the lives of individuals and their families, and also the way that health systems are developing.
We see health consumers rapidly becoming key health players, taking increased responsibility for their health status and data, and ultimately gaining critical knowledge about the quality the health care they receive. Patient-centeredness is a new order, and consequently the web 2.0 effect on the patient-doctor relationship is far for being totally understood.
For general practitioners and family physicians, who are at the forefront of health care systems around the world, this represents an exciting challenge. Moreover, this undoubtedly requires an upgrade of skills which entails joining the technological breakthrough and to face a new set of communication channels: instant messaging, electronic mail and virtual reality, just to name a few… Reassuring the important role of primary care providers in promoting health literacy is of crucial importance and can be achieved at a global scale, and not just simply in local settings.
Thirty years after the Declaration of Alma-Ata, primary health care needs once again gather forces in order to help decreasing inequalities around the world. The demands of health care systems require innovative solutions. As such, eHealth now represent the common voice for globalizing health literacy. The main goal for the Second Virtual Congress of General Practice and Family Medicine is to enable the use of eHealth, so as to empower citizens to use health information in an operational way – in other words, working globally for a wiser health.”

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