E-health technologies can have a positive influence on access to care and contribute to public health. However, in many contexts, the implementation of e-health is stalled by internal and external barriers that affect users’ experiences and adoption rates. The present paper reviews a study into e-health adoption in Zimbabwe and summarizes the data from related research.
E-health technologies have a prominent effect on people’s access to high-quality care, and could thus help to advance population health outcomes in areas with poor healthcare infrastructure. Still, some factors hinder e-health implementation in specific healthcare contexts. The present paper will report on a study that explored the factors influencing e-health implementation in Zimbabwe’s public hospitals.
The implementation of e-health technologies has become a prominent topic of scholarly inquiry over the past years. Table 1 presents information about some recent studies similar to the one by Furusa and Coleman in terms of scope and focus.
Table 1. Summary of Related Work.
|Gücin, Nuray Öner, and Özlem Sertel Berk. “Technology Acceptance in Health Care: An Integrative Review of Predictive Factors and Intervention Programs.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 195, 2015, pp. 1698-1704.||A review of the literature on factors affecting the implementation of technological innovations in healthcare setting||Identified models useful for studying e-health acceptance |
Clarified the importance of perceived benefits and perceived ease of use in predicting adoption by care providers and patients
|Mugo, David M., and David Nzuki. “Determinants of Electronic Health in Developing Countries.” International Journal of Arts and Commerce, vol. 3, no. 3, 2014, pp. 49-60.||A literature review concerning the determinants of electronic health adoption in developing countries||Identified determinants of e-health adoption included the quality of ICT infrastructure, internet penetration and bandwidth, privacy and security concerns, funding and providers’ computer skills|
|Olok, Geoffrey Tabo, et al. “Knowledge and Attitudes of Doctors Towards E-Health Use in Healthcare Delivery in Government and Private Hospitals in Northern Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Study.” BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, vol. 15, no. 1, 2015, pp. 87-97.||A quantitative study into the attitudes of doctors towards e-health use in Northern Uganda||Found positive general attitudes towards e-health among doctors, although there was no influence of attitudes on e-health adoption. ICT skills were identified as the most important predictor of e-health use|
Based on the results achieved by Furusa and Coleman, as well as by other researchers who studied the topic, supporting e-health implementation in developing countries requires a series of steps. Firstly, it is essential to update ICT infrastructure to the required standard (Furusa and Coleman 5; Mugo and Nzuki 54). Secondly, providing training to medical professionals to improve their ICT skills is necessary to promote adoption (Furusa and Coleman 5; Olok et al. 94). Thirdly, adequate technical support and communication regarding e-health technologies should be established (Furusa and Coleman 5; Gücin & Berk 1700). This would help to improve patients’ and care providers’ awareness of e-health features and facilitate positive experiences. Lastly, privacy and security concerns should be addressed in software design and supported on the legislative level (Furusa and Coleman 7; Mugo & Nzuki 52). Using these steps, it will be possible to implement e-health technologies to support care access and delivery in various regions and attract patients and care providers to adopt them.
Results and Description
The study provides a thorough explanation of the factors influencing e-health adoption in Zimbabwe. The researchers used a qualitative methodology with interviews and case studies as the primary methods of data collection (Furusa and Coleman 3). A total of 20 doctors working in public hospitals participated in semi-structured interviews and shared their experiences (Furusa and Coleman 3). The results obtained from the research show that the e-health infrastructure in Zimbabwe is limited despite introductory efforts (Furusa and Coleman 4). Internal factors affecting e-health implementation were ICT infrastructure, skills and knowledge, security concerns, the presence of basic medical facilities, resistance to change and doctor-patient relationships (Furusa and Coleman 4). External factors included health policy, funding and bureaucracy (Furusa and Coleman 4). The results provide valuable insight into barriers to e-health in the context of developing countries.
In line with other research on the topic, the study points out critical areas that should be addressed to promote e-health implementation. The results obtained by authors suggest the need to improve ICT infrastructure and skills of care providers while also instituting legal, financial and policy support for the initiative (Furusa and Coleman 4). The findings can be useful for developing and implementing programs concerning e-health technologies.
Furusa, Samuel S., and Alfred Coleman. “Factors Influencing E-Health Implementation by Medical Doctors in Public Hospitals in Zimbabwe.” South African Journal of Information Management, vol. 20, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1-9.
Gücin, Nuray Öner, and Özlem Sertel Berk. “Technology Acceptance in Health Care: An Integrative Review of Predictive Factors and Intervention Programs.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 195, 2015, pp. 1698-1704.
Mugo, David M., and David Nzuki. “Determinants of Electronic Health in Developing Countries.” International Journal of Arts and Commerce, vol. 3, no. 3, 2014, pp. 49-60.
Olok, Geoffrey Tabo, et al. “Knowledge and Attitudes of Doctors Towards E-Health Use in Healthcare Delivery in Government and Private Hospitals in Northern Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Study.” BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, vol. 15, no. 1, 2015, pp. 87-97.