Researchers develop tool to evaluate e-health effectiveness


An international group of researchers says it has developed a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of various e-health programs, based on a new evaluation framework.

Reporting in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health, the researchers say they defined different stages of e-health program implementation and a series of areas to be considered in evaluating programs' effectiveness. The framework "helps understand various aspects of e-health programs and their impact that require evaluation at different stages of the life cycle," the authors reported.

The new evaluation tool is named the Khoja-Durrani-Scott Framework for e-Health Evaluation, after the researchers who developed it. The three named researchers are affiliated with universities in Kenya, Afghanistan and Canada.

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The framework examines health services, technology, economic, ethical, behavioral and sociotechnical, readiness and change, and policy outcomes during development, implementation, integration and sustained operation of an e-health system.

Meanwhile, researchers in South Africa have applied a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of one type of e-health – mobile health – adapted from the information and communication technology (ICT) world. The framework assesses areas including government stewardship of mHealth programs and related organizational, technological and financial systems.

The World Health Organization reported last spring that e-health technologies are spreading rapidly in low- and medium-income countries, thanks in part to the growing use of mobile phones. But challenges with financing limited expansion of such programs in developing countries, the report found.

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