Rethinking ICTs and E-Health: A Focus on Issues and Challenges

Rethinking ICTs and E-Health: A Focus on Issues and Challenges

Bolanle A. Olaniran (Texas Tech University, USA) and Yan Zhang (Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9978-6.ch078
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Main Focus Of The Article

We argue that while e-health may help with issue of efficiency, such as cost-cutting, and instant access to healthcare information and records, its adoption and effectiveness is not as clear cut and may threaten the survival of certain medical practices (i.e., complementary or alternative medicine [CAM] that characterizes some of the non-western medical or health care services). In order to explore issues relating to adoption and use of e-health, we looked at the dimension of cultural variability (i.e., Hofstede, 1996, 2001) as a general framework given its wide appeal and established record in literature, especially in the adoption of an innovation such as e-health. In particular, the collectivism and individualism dimension of cultural variability is useful in exploring the difference between oral tradition and digital tradition cultures in terms of how they might adopt and use e-health. Specifically, we argued that the disparity between oral tradition and digital traditional cultures is such that information in oral tradition culture simply cannot be easily translated into written or digital one because of the art form implied within the oral tradition. Hence, the failure to recognize this important challenge may very well makes oral tradition cultures and their embedded medical practices extinct and consequently may hinder adoption and usage decision. This problem is not limited to e-health consumers, but may impact e-health practices altogether (Olaniran, 2012). First, however, it is necessary to provide an overview of e-health.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Written Tradition: Describes cultures who emphasizes textual information and hence makes information or messages suitable for digitizing.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Focuses on the integration of traditional or alternative medicinal practices into contemporary medical practices.

Culture: Represents different value preferences that influence communication interaction and how people create meaning.

Oral Tradition: Represents cultures whose main focus is in oral communication.

Dimensions of Cultural Variability: Shows or represents Cultural differences.

Information Communication Technologies: Electronic devices that aid in the transmission of information and interactions in terms of conveying messages.

E-Health: Focuses on the provision and delivery of health information over electronic medium.

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