Distance and inaccessibility create special challenges for health practitioners in rural and remote areas. Health professionals in rural and remote areas face problems such as prescription concerns due to lack of information. This occurs due to a gap in knowledge regarding medications, as health practitioners do not have access to medical history of their patients. Frequent migration of patients in rural and remote communities results in the loss of patients’ medical records. In addition, doctors have limited access to therapeutic information, as searching the Internet from most remote communities is expensive and slow. In addition, frequent migration of patients in remote communities results in the loss of patients’ histories. This chapter proposes a refined conceptual health information management model based on the model presented by Mahmood (2006). The discussed model is based on the use of Data Grid technology and Data Recharging techniques employed in conjunction with wireless communication technologies to overcome the problems and challenges faced by health practitioners. The model categorizes the health establishments in remote areas into two categories on the basis of geographical characteristics and data access requirements. The discussed model aims to meet information and communication technology (ICT) requirements of health practitioners operating in each recognized category.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Information Society: One in which the main product or a prerequisite to other products is information. In essence, in information society, the workers’ outputs and organizations’ successes depend on their ability to utilize information.
Health Information Management System: An information system consisting of computer hardware and software, procedures, and processes that are specifically designed and implemented to store, maintain, collect, process, represent, and manage information specific to the health care domain.
E-Health: A collective use of electronic communication and information technology in the health sector to electronically transmit, store, and retrieve digital data, both at the local site and at a distance, for clinical, educational, and administrative purposes. It is composed of telemedicine and health informatics.
Telemedicine: Direct or indirect electronic delivery of health care or health information.
Health Information: Recorded information in any form or medium about the health of a particular individual. It is created or received by a health practitioner or provider. It consists of past and present health condition of as well as past, present, and future treatments conducted on an individual.
Telehealth: The distribution of health-related information or services by using telecommunication methods such as health-related advice over the phone; distribution of health-related information by using the Web; use of videoconferencing, online chat, online discussion boards, and exchange of medical records over the Internet or by using fax.
Health Informatics: The use of devices and resources to collect, store, move, and retrieve data to support health care. One application of Health Informatics is telehealth.