eHealth: Can ICTs Bring the Doctor Closer to Patients?

Kwami Ahiabenu | Graphic Online | June 15, 2016

Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), play an important role in improving healthcare delivery by providing new, innovative and efficient ways of connecting the patient to the doctor. They support quality care delivery by producing better data sets for information and knowledge management, assist in disease prevention and treatment; health monitoring,  diagnostic Information systems, supporting health system management processes including (planning, budget and financial functions) and supporting the emergency, ambulatory, organ donation systems as well as the disaster management systems and blood banks.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), eHealth is the use of ICT for health delivery including treating patients, conducting research, educating the health workforce, tracking diseases and monitoring public health. Telemedicine is a specific type of e-Health, where medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications such as two-way video, email, smart phones and wireless devices, to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine enables healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients in remote locations using the Internet. For instance, a doctor in Korle Bu can provide care to a patient in Navrongo through a two-way video communication system without travelling to Navrongo.

eHealth enables doctors to access patients’ medical records (including Lab test results) readily, and manage prescription processes seamlessly with pharmacists.  Some health facilities are now equipped with an electronic medical record which is a digital version of typical paper file system in use.  This means a doctor is able to access patients’ record from a computer or other devices without going through an endless paper trail. This system means doctors cannot only share valuable information with their peers, but will also be able to improve on diagnosis accuracy and reduce errors. Today, telemedicine is a standard medical practice with a large number of countries making use of it...