Poor infrastructures in developing countries such as Ethiopia and much of Sub-Saharan Africa have caused these nations to suffer from lack of efficient and effective delivery of basic and extended medical and healthcare services. Often, such limitation is further accompanied by low patient-doctor ratios, resulting in unwarranted rationing of services. Apparently, e-medicine awareness among both governmental policy makers and private health professionals is motivating the gradual adoption of technological innovations in these countries. It is argued, however, that there still is a gap between current e-medicine efforts in developing countries and the existing connectivity infrastructure leading to faulty, inefficient and expensive designs. The particular case of Ethiopia, one such developing country where emedicine continues to carry significant promises, is investigated and reported in this article.
E-Medicine Network Design Considerations
E-medicine refers to the electronic delivery of healthcare and sharing of medical knowledge over a distance employing ICT. A national e-medicine network allows sharing and exchanging of clinical data among physicians, administrators, even patients or other participating health professionals regardless of physical distance separation or geographical terrain of the whereabouts of these network participants within the national boundaries. The network also facilitates communications among physicians and academics across diverse cultures, affiliated healthcare organizations, and publicly or privately funded research institutions. Since there is lack of transportation and communication infrastructure in developing countries, medical and clinical data exchanges can be further secured and facilitated through an existing e-medicine network.