Exploring the Relationship between ICTs and Public Health at Country Level: A Health Analytics Approach

Exploring the Relationship between ICTs and Public Health at Country Level: A Health Analytics Approach

Viju Raghupathi (Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY, USA) and Wullianallur Raghupathi (Fordham University, New York, NY, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jhisi.2013070101
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Abstract

The authors use a health analytics approach to investigate the relationship between information and communication technology (ICT) and public health at a country level. The research uses the ICT factors of accessibility, usage, quality, affordability, trade, and applications, as well as the public delivery indicators of adolescent fertility rate, child immunization for DPT, child immunization for measles, tuberculosis detection rate, life expectancy, adult female mortality rate, and adult male mortality rate. ICT data was collected from the International Telecommunication Union ICT Indicator database. The public health data was collected from the World Bank website. Results of the analytics indicate that ICT factors are positively associated with some public health indicators. Nearly all of the ICT factors are positively associated with the public health indicators of immunization rates, TB detection rates, and life expectancy. The association with adult mortality is negative, which is also favorable. However, the association of ICT with fertility rate is negative, which is an unfavorable effect. These results offer insight into the importance of understanding the positive and adverse impacts of ICT on public health so as to guide national policy decisions in the future.
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2. Public Health

Public health is the practice of preventing disease and promoting good health of small groups of people from small communities to entire countries (American Public Health Association, 2001). Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of populations which can be as small as a local neighborhood or as large as an entire country. At the national level, public health concerns include bioterrorism, antibiotic resistant organisms, infectious diseases, mortality, malnutrition, and poor sanitation (World Bank, 1993; World Health Organization, 2001). The potential to collect, organize, integrate and disseminate relevant information from a multitude of sources enables analytics to improve the current health status of communities. In short, efficient health analytics can alleviate challenges within the public health sector (Koo et al., 2001; Yasnoff et al., 2001).

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