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Developing an E-Health Strategy

A Commonwealth Workbook of Methodologies, Content and Models

image of Developing an E-Health Strategy

Because e-health is a core resource for healthcare systems, every country needs good policies, strategies and plans, both for information and communication technology (ICT), and for the associated organisational changes that support improved health and healthcare. E-health is this combination of ICT and organisational change. This book will help health system decision-makers identify key policy issues in developing an e-health strategy and make the right decisions about the way forward. It is designed to be used in workshops with a team of people from many different backgrounds, such as senior civil servants responsible for health, ICT and finance, doctors, nurses, healthcare managers, ICT managers and suppliers. A team like this often has different views and ideas and using the workbook can help to put these together. Readers can use the workbook in many different ways: as a checklist for the agenda and topics for the team. They can use the parts that are most important to them and their work, and can add to the templates so they fit their precise needs better. Because e-health is not a single project with a fixed timescale and permanent solution, the effort and investment needed has many parts. It is complex, it changes constantly, and it is continuous. The workbook covers all the topics that will need to be addressed.

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Country development plans

Countries’ plans for social and economic development include expanding ICT infrastructure to support services such as the internet, broadband and mobile phones. For example, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are laying fibre optic cable across their countries as part of an international communication project that is laying cable under the Indian Ocean. In Bangladesh, the government is expanding the availability of broadband as part of its policy initiatives to stimulate economic opportunities. These types of projects provide opportunities for e-health piloting and scalability to a wider base of users. Table 4 provides examples of different types of ICT development.

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