A Theoretical Model for Telemedicine : Social and Value Outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa
The Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region is faced with limited medical personnel and healthcare services to address the many healthcare problems of the region. Poor health indicators reflect the overall decline in socio-economic development. Shortages of access to health services in the region is further complicated by the concentration of health services in urban areas, the region’s multiple medical problems (over 70% of HIV/AIDS cases in the world); and the brain drain phenomenon – it is estimated one-third of African physicians emigrate to North America and Europe. The result is that the SSA region is left with about 10 physicians, and 20 beds, per 100,000 patients. Telemedicine has been found to offer socio-economic benefits, reduce costs, and improve access to healthcare service providers by patients, but previous attempts to move various information technologies from developers in the industrial world to the developing world have failed because of a clear neglect of infrastructural and cultural factors that influence such transfers. The objective of this study is to address key factors that challenge the introduction of telemedicine technology into the health sector in SSA in particular, and by extension, other developing countries with similar socio-economic structures.This research offers a distinctive perspective, focusing on visually-based clinical applications in the SSA region, and considerable attention to the national infrastructure and cultural impact of telemedicine transfer (social and value) outcomes. Two research models and its associated hypotheses are proposed and empirically tested using quantitative data collected from SSA physicians and other health professionals. The study also contributes to the ongoing debate on the potential of telemedicine in improving access and reducing costs. This research can help to understand the socio-economic impact of telemedicine outcomes in a comprehensive way. The finding from the survey shows the rapid advances in telemedicine technology specifically, visual clinical applications may become an essential healthcare tool in the near future within SSA countries.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Statistics, computer and systems science; Informatics, computer and systems science; Computer and systems science; Telemedicine/ e-health; Sub-Saharan Africa; Least developed Countries; Visually based Clinical Applications; Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Transfer; Partial Least Squares; Culture
Date of Publication:01/01/2006