This chapter introduces the use of mobile medical informatics as a means for improving clinical practice in Sudan. It argues that mobile medical informatics, combined with new techniques for discovering patterns in complex clinical situations, offers a potentially more substantive approach to understanding the nature of information systems in a variety of contexts. Furthermore, the author hopes that understanding the underlying assumptions and theoretical constructs through the use of the Chaos Theory will not only inform researchers of a better design for studying information systems, but also assist in the understanding of intricate relationships between different factors.
The health care sector in Sudan is being challenged by many organizational, institutional, technical and technological issues that endangered its ability to provide quality services (UNFPA website, UNCEF website, Ministry of Health website). Because public hospitals are competing with other government units for public funds, they failed to acquire appropriate medical technology and improve clinical practice through improved diagnosis and staff training and retention. The lack of a sound managing capacity has also reduced their ability to integrate backward (with community and rural hospitals) and coordinate forward (with educational institutions, industry and research community). The recent economic liberalization has also increased both the “financial” and “managerial” overheating of public hospitals who fail to run as self-sufficient units rather than “cost centers’. While the quality of the services provided by private clinics and hospitals (both inside and outside Sudan) tends to be high their paramountly high costs make them out of the reach of many patients.
The deterioration of the quality of health services and clinical practice due to the following:
Key Terms in this Chapter
ICU Models: The key organizational characterization used for the description, coordination, and re-engineering (if necessary) of medical processes undertaken by medical (and supporting) personnel in the intensive care unit.
Users: All stakeholders and partners who are in direct (main and subordinate) interaction with the provision of health care services (such as physicians, pharmacists, etc) (a.k.a affecters), third party partners (such as suppliers) (a.k.a facilitators) and patients who are directly affected by the quality of medical and clinical processes (a.k.a affected).
Mobile Agents: Are software programs that use their “mobility” qualities to room across networks in order to access information and carry out tasks for their own processes, on behalf of their owners and/or other agents.
Medical Informatics: A term widely used to describe the use of information systems (mainly decision support systems) in medical processes and interactions. The basic aim is to improve operational efficiency of medical and health centers, enhance clinical practice and the quality of medical care and promote good practices.
Healthcare Control Levels: Reflect both the organizational and institutional dimensions of the healthcare system which varies from country to another. Especially in developing countries where public healthcare institutions play a significant role, three control levels tend to be used: federal, territorial and local. The efficiency of such levels is affected by the existing decision making context and technological platforms.
Clinical Practice: The activities undertaken by medical staff at the different medical areas of expertise and specialization (such as surgery, pediatrics, etc) within the organizational domains of health-related organizations and prevailing professional medical codes of ethics.
Multiagent Systems: A cluster of (homogenous or heterogeneous) software agents possessing diverse agency qualities and attributes orchestrated in an organization structure-alike context to share resources and achieve objectives within a predefined (center-specific) or universal (internet-based) processing environment.