Implementing EHR in a developing country: potential challenges and benefits
Developing countries are slow adopters of new technologies, particularly with regards to the health services of these countries. This study explores the data collection and management challenges in a Ghanaian hospital using an interpretative case study approach and proposes implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system as a solution to these challenges. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), Actor Network Theory (ANT) and Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) are used in discussing the acceptance and the collaborative use of a prospective EHR system in the light of the present work practice at the hospital. This study is probably the first of its kind in Ghana; there have been some limited studies of EHR early trials in some developing countries assessing the challenges of implementation. This study briefly mentions two of such; the Cameroonian and Kenyan EHR projects. Some challenges that would impede the implementation of EHR in a Ghanaian hospital are the initial huge start up costs, poor computer skills of healthcare professionals, poor maintenance culture, and people embedding political meaning(s) into the system. The weak state of information infrastructure at the hospital would be another challenge in an EHR implementation. EHR could potentially reduce waiting times for patients, reduce the cost of the hospital’s operations, improve interdepartmental communication and collaboration, provide opportunity for sharing best practices among physicians within Ghanaian hospitals, and enhance better resource allocation. The data an EHR could primarily capture would be patients’ demographics, care plans, laboratory results, billing and NHIS claims information. Keywords: ANT, CSCW, EHR, Ghana, Implementation, Information Infrastructure.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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