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AIHA Learning Resource Center Project

AIHA’s Learning Resource Center (LRC) project supplied healthcare professionals with current information on the most effective practices within their specialization, while helping these professionals build new programs rooted in evidence-based medicine.

LRCs were institution or community-based telecenters that consisted of at least one computer with Internet access, a scanner that allowed partners to digitize clinical images for use in teleconsultations, and a collection of health and medical databases. They enabled healthcare professionals to access current information sources and offered new opportunities for education, communication, and collaboration within the AIHA partnership network, as well as within the broader international health community.

With USAID support, AIHA established some 140 LRCs at partner institutions in 22 countries spanning Eurasia between 1995 and 2003. Together, these Centers provided information and communication services to a community of 100,000 health professionals across the region.

In addition to meeting the information technology needs of partner institutions, LRCs provided support to in excess of 27,000 other medical professionals and community members each year, including approximately 1,500 patients.

In support of this initiative, AIHA staff developed an LRC Toolkit in both English and Russian languages. This was an invaluable resource for partner institutions and other healthcare providers around the globe who were looking to harness information and communications technology to improve the quality and scope of services they provide. The LRC Toolkit contained a collection of resources ranging from project work plans and job descriptions to brochures and patient education materials.

Key Accomplishments

  • Information coordinators from AIHA’s LRCs trained nearly 23,000 healthcare professionals in the use of computers and the Internet as tools of evidence-based research and responded to some 71,000 requests for information from clinicians and patients between 1997 and 2003.
  • In 2002 alone, AIHA’s LRCs provided technical assistance to more than 41,000 healthcare professionals, students, patients, and community members.
  • Developed by LRC staff, the web server of the Odessa Oblast Hospital — which included an online drug index as well as several online medical journals — was named one of the 20 most visited Russian-language medical sites by the Russian Medical Server.
  • Staff of the LRC located at Vladivostok City Hospital No. 2 developed a series of weekly lectures to give healthcare professionals an understanding of the rationale for an evidence-based approach to clinical practice and to enable staff to critically appraise articles about diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.
  • Neonatologists from Faculty Hospital in Kosice, Slovakia, actively used the LRC’s digital camera and other resources to conduct teleconsultations with specialists from around the world. The physicians regularly sent photographs and X-rays to their AIHA partners, as well as to other specialists they made contact with through the Internet.

AIHA’s current Knowledge Management Program is rooted in this highly successful USAID-supported initiative.

AIHA staff developed an LRC Toolkit in both English and Russian languages. This was an invaluable resource for partner institutions and other healthcare providers around the globe who were looking to harness information and communications technology to improve the quality and scope of services they provide. The LRC Toolkit contained a collection of resources ranging from project work plans and job descriptions to brochures and patient education materials.

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