Information Technologies

Using Information and Communication Technology to Revitalise Continuing Professional Development for Rural Health Professionals: Evidence from a Pilot Project

This article outlines a project and its evaluation that used ICT equipment to increase the uptake of continuing professional development training in Uganda. [adapted from abstract]

Doctor in Your Pocket: Health Hotlines in Developing Countries

This report tracks hotlines operating in developing countries that connect callers to health professionals, assesses the hotlines success to date, offers suggestions to advance this approach, and assesses their commercial viability and potential for growth. [adapted from author]

Benefits and Problems of Electronic Information Exchange as Perceived by Health Care Professionals: an Interview Study

This study aims to increase our understanding of health care providers’ attitude towards a national electronic patient record, by investigating their perceptions of the benefits and problems of electronic information exchange in health care. The results of this study provide valuable suggestions about how to promote health care providers’ willingness to adopt electronic information exchange. [adapted from abstract]

Improving Health Systems with the Power of Open Source

This edition of CapacityPlus Voices highlights the value of free, open source health information applications such as human resources for health information system software. [adapted from author]

Can Computerized Clinical Decision Support Systems Improve Practitioners' Diagnostic Test Ordering Behavior? A Decision-Maker-Researcher Partnership Systematic Review

Decision support technology purports to optimize the use of diagnostic tests in clinical practice. The objective of this review was to assess whether computerized clinical decision support systems (CCDSSs) are effective at improving ordering of tests for diagnosis, monitoring of disease, or monitoring of treatment. The outcome of interest was effect on the diagnostic test-ordering behavior of practitioners. [from abstract]

Computerized Clinical Decision Support Systems for Chronic Disease Management: a Decision-Maker-Researcher Partnership Systematic Review

Computerized clinical decision support systems (CCDSSs) may help practitioners meet the requirements of chronic care. These systems analyze a patient’s characteristics to provide tailored recommendations for diagnosis, treatment, patient education, adequate follow-up, and timely monitoring of disease indicators. The objective of this review was to determine if CCDSSs improve the processes of chronic care and associated patient outcomes. [adapted from author]

Integrating Telecare for Chronic Disease Management in the Community: What Needs to be Done?

This study aimed to identify factors inhibiting the implementation and integration of telecare systems for chronic disease management in the community. [from abstract]

Building Bridges to the World: the Convergence of Global Health, Digital Media and Technology

This brief outlines the global health worker shortage, the need for better training, using digital media and technology to improve global health, and advocates for better diplomacy through better health.

Telemedicine: Opportunities and Developments in Member States

This report focuses on the use of information and communication technologies for health service delivery - telemedicine. It includes an overview of telemedicine, synthesizing current literature that illuminates the use of telemedicine in developing countries, and highlights five key lessons learnt from this body of literature. It also presents the results of the Telemedicine Section of the second global eHealth survey and makes recommendations on actions to establish telemedicine as part of a sustainable solution to the health care issues faced by developing countries.

Health Information as Health Care: the Role of Technology in Unlocking Data and Wellness

This report explores the use of mobile devices in the collection and transfer of critical health data at the local, national and international levels. The paper is structured around three core healthcare domains: surveillance systems, supply chain, and human resources. Experts in these domains identify critical gaps in health information flows and offer recommendations on how technology-based solutions can be applied. [from publisher]

Connecting Medical Specialists in Rural Hospitals: Lessons Learned from the Telemedicine Project in Tanzania

This brief outlines a project conceived to tap the potential of telemedicine in Tanzania and to develop the relevant technology and practices. The project aimed to reduce the strain caused by a shortage of qualified personnel, contribute to training and continuous professional development; improve the quality of health services in rural areas; contribute to the establishment of a referral system; and be cost-effective.

Telehealth in the Developing World

Telemedicine offers solutions for emergency medical assistance, long-distance consultation, administration and logistics, supervision and quality assurance, and education and training for healthcare professionals and providers. This book aims to redress the relative lack of published information on successful telehealth solutions in the developing world. It includes chapters on topics such as the role of mHealth for community-based health workers in developing countries, IT for primary care, telemedical support for surgeons, and telehealth for remote areas. [adapted from author]

Learning in a Virtual World: Experience with Using Second Life for Medical Education

The authors designed and delivered a pilot postgraduate medical education program in the virtual world, Second Life to explore the potential of a virtual world for delivering continuing medical education (CME) designed for physicians; determine possible instructional designs using SL for CME; understand the limitations of SL for CME; understand the barriers, solutions, and costs associated with using SL, including required training; and measure participant learning outcomes and feedback. [adapted from abstract]

Systematic Review of Economic Analyses of Telehealth Services Using Real Time Video Communication

Telehealth is the delivery of health care at a distance, using information and communication technology. The major rationales for its introduction have been to decrease costs, improve efficiency and increase access in health care delivery. This systematic review assesses the economic value of one type of telehealth delivery - synchronous or real time video communication – rather than examining a heterogeneous range of delivery modes as has been the case with previous reviews in this area. [from abstract]

Effectiveness of Computerized Clinical Guidelines in the Process of Care: a Systematic Review

Clinical practice guidelines have been developed aiming to improve the quality of care. The implementation of the computerized clinical guidelines (CCG) has been supported by the development of computerized clinical decision support systems. This systematic review assesses the impact of CCG on the process of care compared with non-computerized clinical guidelines. [from abstract]

Impacts of Expert Systems on Health Care: Economic Considerations

This presentation describes the potential effects of using telemedicine to provide relevant medical knowledge in order to assist physicians in patient care.

Telemedicine: a Need for Ethical and Legal Guidelines in South Africa

Telemedicine is viewed as a new way of offering medical services. It is seen as a means of overcoming the growing shortage of health practitioners in developing countries. The aim of this paper is to highlight the need for the formulation of guidelines for the ethical practice of telemedicine in South Africa. [from abstract]

Past, Present and Future: Experiences and Lessons from Telehealth Projects

This article focuses on the field of telemedicine in developing countries and its role in improving health, using examples from the experience of the International Development Resource Centre. [adapted from publisher]

Costs and Potential Savings of a Novel Telepaediatric Service in Queensland

There are few cost-minimisation studies in telemedicine. We have compared the actual costs of providing the telepaediatric service to the potential costs if patients had travelled to see the specialist in person. In November 2000, we established a novel telepaediatric service for selected regional hospitals in Queensland. Instead of transferring patients to Brisbane, the majority of referrals to specialists in Brisbane have been dealt with via videoconference.

Implementing Telemedicine in South Africa: a South African Experience

South African citizens have experienced many inequalities and these have extended to the health care setting. one of the major challenges that needs to be addressed is the accessibility and availability of health care and specialized medical services in rural areas in South Africa. Telemedicine is a potential solution to address some of the challenges within health care in a developing country like South Africa. This article looks at the experiences of developing and implementing a telemedicine solution. [abstract]

Exploring the Effects of Telehealth on Medical Human Resources Supply: a Qualitative Case Study in Remote Regions

The availability of medical human resource supply is a growing concern for rural and remote communities in many countries. In the last decade, various telehealth experiences in Canada have highlighted the potential impact of this technology on professional practice. The purpose of this study was to explore physicians’ and managers’ perceptions regarding the potential of telehealth to support recruitment and retention of physicians in remote and rural regions. [abstract]

Improving the Use of Patient-Held Records in the Emtshezi Subdistrict

The aim of this interventional study was to assess, document and improve the Patient-held Record System in the Emtshezi Subdistrict. The study began in 1998 and was conducted using a Quality Assurance Cycle, which focuses on systems and processes and encourages a team approach to problem solving and quality improvement. [from abstract]

Improving Health, Connecting People: the Role of ICTs in the Health Sector of Developing Countries, a Framework Paper

This framework paper is aimed at policy makers who are involved in the development or management of programmes in the health sector in developing countries. It provides a snapshot of the type of information and communication technology (ICT) interventions that are being used in the health sector, and the policy debates around ICTs and health…The paper describes the major constraints and challenges faced in using ICTs effectively in the health sector of developing countries.