Volume 10, Issue 3 (11-2023)                   Human Information Interaction 2023, 10(3): 77-95 | Back to browse issues page

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Hejazinia R, ahmadi S. A framework for the requirements of e-health 2.0 in developing countries: a qualitative approach. Human Information Interaction 2023; 10 (3)
URL: http://hii.khu.ac.ir/article-1-3082-en.html
Ph. D .of Information Technology Management, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (845 Views)
Introduction: In contemporary society, the pervasive integration of information technology into the fabric of human existence has become a focal point for many healthcare service providers. This phenomenon has ignited significant interest and exploration, primarily due to the widespread embrace of innovative service models within the health sector. The advent of information technology has ushered in a transformative era, redefining the landscape of healthcare delivery. Adopting novel service styles has emerged as a cornerstone in enhancing the efficiency, accessibility, and overall quality of healthcare services. Electronic health records, telemedicine, and health monitoring applications are myriad manifestations of this technological revolution. These advancements streamline administrative processes and facilitate seamless communication between healthcare professionals and patients. Moreover, integrating data analytics and artificial intelligence has empowered healthcare providers with valuable insights, enabling personalized and proactive approaches to patient care. As technology advances, the symbiotic relationship between information technology and healthcare is poised to revolutionize the industry, fostering a future where precision medicine, remote patient monitoring, and virtual consultations become integral components of a patient-centric and technologically enriched healthcare ecosystem. This paradigm shift holds the promise of not only improving health outcomes but also democratizing access to quality healthcare services on a global scale. Among the various information technology facilities, social media, particularly social networks, is increasingly utilized by individuals and groups of varying types. Despite crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, service providers have been compelled to offer non-presential services by leveraging information technology platforms.
Providing non-presential services, especially in the healthcare sector, plays a crucial role in crises and significantly influences the effectiveness of crisis management. This is evident in how these services efficiently address emerging healthcare needs. Social media, a prominent aspect of information technology, enjoys widespread popularity among individuals from diverse age groups. The extensive reach of social media platforms across various age demographics highlights their pervasive influence and underscores their potential as assertive communication and information dissemination tools during crises. The broad user base of these platforms further enhances their effectiveness in reaching and engaging different segments of the population, thus amplifying their impact on crisis communication and management strategies. The provision of services in a non-presential manner has become increasingly important, particularly in the health and hygiene sector. This is especially true in developing countries with significant disparities in healthcare facilities and uneven access to relevant amenities and professionals. Given the high influence of social media among diverse groups, delivering services through social media platforms has become imperative.
In developing nations, social media platforms are often more accessible and user-friendly than other information technology facilities. As a result, these platforms can serve as practical tools for delivering health services. Addressing these countries' requirements and prerequisites for implementing this technology can significantly contribute to successfully establishing Electronic Health 2.0 services. The current study presents a framework for identifying the requirements for delivering health services through social media platforms (Electronic Health 2.0) in developing countries.
of thematic analysis involved becoming familiar with the data through extensive readings of the text, identifying noteworthy codes by the researcher, generating preliminary codes, transforming the initial codes into organizing Methods: This study was carried out utilizing a qualitative methodology. Thematic analysis was applied to analyze the data at three hierarchical levels: fundamental, organizing, and all-encompassing themes. The process themes, revisiting the codes, and categorizing them into overarching themes. Ultimately, a report presentation was drafted. Moreover, MAXQDA10 software was used for coding to facilitate the data analysis. The research took place over five months (from February 2021 to July 2021) in Iran, a developing country. The necessary data were collected through semi-structured interviews using purposive sampling from a population of IT professionals and researchers in electronic health. This group of experts had criteria such as research experience, academic background (relevant qualifications) , and a work history of over three years in information technology and electronic health. Individuals meeting at least two out of the three criteria were selected from this group. Additionally, the purposive sampling method was employed for the sampling process. Considering theoretical saturation in the twentieth interview and conducting two more interviews to ensure the results, a sample size of 22 participants was deemed sufficient to access the research data effectively.
Findings: In the initial phase, 70 fundamental themes were derived from the analysis of interviews. Subsequently, foundational codes were organized into 13 organizing themes and categorized into five overarching themes. The research results indicate that the requirements for providing healthcare services in the realm of social media (Electronic Health 2.0) for developing countries encompass infrastructural necessities (hardware provisioning and development, software provisioning and development, security provisioning, and data features) , organizational aspects (individual-level and managerial-level issues) , environmental considerations (attention to complexities, institutionalization, and development of the information society) , operational factors (provision and development of regulations, research execution, and development) , and communicative elements (development of interaction and participation, and access development).
The technical requirements for developing Electronic Health 2.0 services in developing countries encompass infrastructure needs, particularly information technology. This is the basis for delivering services in the Electronic Health 2.0 domain. Addressing and developing various hardware requirements for Electronic Health 2.0 services, such as using local data centers for storage, having backup equipment for potential failures, improving bandwidth through fiber optic network development to enhance internet access, facilitating communication tools like smartphones, and emphasizing the use of information systems among healthcare providers are critical hardware needs for Electronic Health 2.0. Providing various applications for developing Electronic Health 2.0 capabilities, such as intelligent domain software for data analysis and service provision based on user activity history, utilizing local social networks for better management and control, and promoting user engagement in these networks, as well as leveraging the latest software advancements like IPv6 and 4G and 5G networks, will have a significant impact. In pursuing Electronic Health 2.0 services, seamless data and information transfer in all formats is essential. Ensuring accurate and up-to-date data transmission requires meticulous attention. Safeguarding data integrity from unauthorized changes is crucial. Security is a paramount requirement in the development of Electronic Health 2.0. The foundation of social media platforms poses significant risks to security and privacy. Therefore, deploying identity verification systems and data encryption is instrumental in preventing unauthorized access. Educating users about security issues, such as social engineering phenomena and various types of malware, is vital.
Environmental requirements for developing Electronic Health 2.0 services in developing countries include community preparedness and strategies for institutionalizing these services. Institutionalization involves fostering trust, diverse media advertising, altering user perceptions, facilitating easy and swift access, delivering services according to user experiences, and creating a positive service experience. These efforts culminate in the institutionalization of Electronic Health 2.0 services. One of the critical requirements in developing Electronic Health 2.0 is establishing an information society. This involves educating various groups, especially healthcare specialists, to share their information on the Electronic Health 2.0 platform. Encouraging collaboration and sharing information to control information asymmetry contributes to developing an information society. The dynamic environment, characterized by constant technological advancements, poses challenges that require adaptive strategies. Aligning with new changes, addressing economic pressures, delivering cost-effective healthcare services, and relying on local health experts to manage political conditions, such as sanctions, can effectively address these complexities.
The operational requirements for developing Electronic Health 2.0 in developing countries include preparing the necessary legal infrastructure and conducting feasibility research. As Electronic Health 2.0 moves towards a virtual space, designing long-term and short-term programs, revising or formulating new laws, and communicating changes clearly to users become pivotal. Establishing communication standards and guideline principles is highly significant. Research activities and leveraging successful experiences from leading countries in Electronic Health 2.0 are vital requisites. Conducting research, feasibility studies, and designing a maturity model to identify the current and desired state of Electronic Health 2.0 can effectively guide the development of these services. In conclusion, the multifaceted landscape of Electronic Health 2.0 demands a strategic approach to address data transfer, security, environmental readiness, information society development, and operational efficiency in developing countries.
The organizational requirements for advancing Health Informatics 2.0 in developing countries encompass issues related to electronic health service providers. At the managerial level for government service providers, various obligations exist. Among these, crucial considerations include the need for altering existing workflows or designing new processes, transitioning organizational structures towards flat structures to harness all ideas, the significance of managerial support for new service delivery models, periodic evaluations, and facilitating access to data for transparency. Ensuring human resource requirements within Health Informatics 2.0 involves hiring specialized human resources in social media, conducting training courses to enhance electronic literacy, precisely defining responsibilities, and ultimately facilitating organizational learning.
The communication requirements for developing Health Informatics 2.0 in developing countries involve fostering collaboration and communication among diverse groups in the new service delivery paradigm. Establishing mutual and collaborative partnerships in the health sector through social media is considered crucial. The importance of developing collaborations across government and private health sectors is emphasized, enabling increased participation in service provision and involving various health domain experts for collective problem-solving. This approach relies on collective knowledge and facilitates quick feedback on provided services, highlighting the importance of timely responses to inquiries and consultations, along with easy tracking of submitted requests. Facilitating access to health and hygiene experts for consultations, 24/7 access to accurate and up-to-date health information, swift responses to questions and consultations, and ensuring easy tracking of submitted requests are among the essential requirements for E-Health 2.0.
Conclusion: In addressing the myriad challenges faced by developing countries in the realm of healthcare, it is imperative to acknowledge and tackle issues such as unequal access to information and healthcare facilities, socioeconomic class disparities, limited access to specialized medical professionals, and a general lack of awareness among citizens regarding healthcare matters. These challenges collectively hinder the adequate provision of healthcare services in these regions. A pivotal solution to these challenges lies in strategically utilizing information technology infrastructure. In particular, leveraging the high social media penetration rate emerges as a promising avenue for delivering healthcare services to diverse populations. Social media platforms can act as a robust and inclusive medium, bridging gaps in healthcare accessibility and promoting awareness among the populace. To streamline social media integration into healthcare services, an in-depth understanding and application of the Health Informatics 2.0 framework become paramount. This framework encompasses various dimensions, including infrastructural, organizational, operational, environmental, and communicative. By identifying and leveraging these components, policymakers, managers, and planners in developing countries can pave the way for a more seamless incorporation of social media in healthcare strategies. Enhancing access for service recipients is a central aspect of this approach. By doing so, the potential to provide healthcare services extends beyond temporal and spatial constraints. Using social media becomes a catalyst for transcending geographical barriers, offering healthcare solutions to individuals irrespective of their location and the limitations posed by traditional healthcare delivery models. In light of this, developing countries can embark on a trajectory of progress, armed with preparedness and a comprehensive understanding of the Health Informatics 2.0 model. This model serves as a guide, outlining the requirements for successful implementation. The strategic alignment with this model empowers nations to harness the benefits of information technology in healthcare, fostering improved outcomes and accessibility. For the effective implementation of the research outcomes and the successful adoption of Health Informatics 2.0, it is recommended to create awareness and education conditions for service providers and users. Empowering individuals with knowledge about the capabilities and advantages of this innovative healthcare approach is crucial for its widespread acceptance and utilization.
Furthermore, a critical aspect of the research agenda involves directing attention toward formulating or modifying laws governing social media in the healthcare domain. Clear and supportive legal frameworks are essential for the ethical and secure use of social media platforms in healthcare services. Simultaneously, ensuring a robust information technology infrastructure is pivotal for seamlessly integrating these services, ensuring data security, and facilitating efficient healthcare delivery.In conclusion, harnessing information technology, primarily through social media, presents a transformative solution to healthcare challenges in developing countries. Embracing the Health Informatics 2.0 framework, focusing on awareness, education, legal considerations, and infrastructure, nations can facilitate a paradigm shift towards inclusive and accessible healthcare delivery. This comprehensive approach enhances the reach and efficiency of healthcare services and fosters a sustainable foundation for addressing the unique healthcare needs of diverse populations in the developing world.
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