Knowledge Transfer : Strengthening the capacity of Health information and Communication Technology (HICT) with Global E-Health Strategy.
The convergence of the factors of broadband, and the application of advanced wireless and mobile health technologies has helped to overcome persisting healthcare delivery barriers in underserved populations. It offers cost-effective intervention and helps to improve quality healthcare services.
The global economic recession is a contributing factor to ineffective health care reform as governments struggle to raise a substantial budget when planning a health care investment. As the economy declines, standards of living tend to reduce and many families struggle to afford health care bill without an affordable health insurance option to combat the growing disease burden and unfortunate health circumstance of the 21st century.
In recent years, health care leaders have conducted numerous research studies to identify possible ways to deliver quality, but more affordable health care services that is in line with global best practices. The vast utilization of cheap and sophisticated mobile phones and the expanded access to wireless technologies in many developing countries has brought about transition and advancement in the healthcare delivery process, thereby improving quality and reducing the cost of healthcare administration and service delivery.
Per the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), there are now close to 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions in the world, with over 85% of the world population now covered by a commercial wireless signal. The penetration of mobile phone networks in many low-and middle-income countries surpasses other infrastructure such as paved road and electricity. In Africa, the growth rate of mobile phone had reached 67% percent by 2015, this in turn complements the growing trend in the adoption rate of mHealth and telehealth projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Several eHealth pilot projects involving Telemedicine and Electronic Health Records (EHR) has validated the potential use of mobile health technologies in addressing the most vexing health challenges in limited-resource settings. It is necessary to understand how enabling national eHealth policy that is integrated into e-governance structure and global eHealth strategy can influence the adoption rate and support the implementation of mHeath projects at scale; at this level, knowledge transfer becomes very vital in capacity building processes. A strategic roadmap is required to establish a framework of global eHealth policy to encourage and support the development of national health information communication Technology (HICT).
ICT holds the potential to create a borderless world for health systems and healthcare delivery in developing countries. However, this purpose can be fully realized by incorporating global eHealth policies to cling sustainability and effectiveness. Per the World Health Organization (WHO), a well-disposed approach to eHealth implementation at the national level composed a framework of strategic policies and plans that lays the foundation for HICT development. These policies are designed to protect citizens, promote equity, and observe cultural issues in cyberspace. Stakeholders and healthcare decision makers can also leverage these policies to inform better decision when planning health-care financing.
The application of ICT can hold enormous potential benefit for the health sector. Generally, within the healthcare settings, ICT can act as “tools to increase information flows and the dissemination of evidence-based knowledge between the provider and the client, and serve to empower citizens”.
Based on the findings of the third global survey on eHealth 2015, prepared by the WHO Global Observatory for eHealth (GOe) identified the use of eHealth in support of the Universal Health Coverage. eHealth plays a vital role in promoting universal health coverage in a variety of ways, such as providing services to remote populations and underserved communities through telehealth or mHealth. It helps to facilitate easy accessibility of education and health workers training using eLearning. A strategic use of ICT will improve operations and financial efficiency of a health care systems. However, integrating the global legal framework for national eHealth development will help to address the issues of trust, ensure patient safety, and the quality of care based on data quality, data transmission standards and clinical competency criteria.
It also helps to protect the privacy of personal identifiable data of individual irrespective of whether it is held in digital or paper format and protect the privacy of individuals’ health-related data in electronic format in an electronic health record.