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Title: Investigation of the adoption of telemedicine technology in the Kuwaiti health system : strategy and policy of implementation for overseas referral patients
Author: Buabbas, Ali
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 4892
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2013
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The cost of health care services is rising and the number of patients requesting overseas treatment from the Kuwait Government continues to increase; this is becoming an unsustainable financial burden. A telemedicine system has the potential to support the Kuwaiti health system to provide medical consultations from global medical centres, and thereby reduce the number of Kuwaiti patients being sent abroad for treatment, and so reduce costs. This research investigates the readiness of the key stakeholders in regard to adoption of telemedicine systems in the Kuwaiti healthcare system. This is achieved by assessing the readiness of individuals (physicians and patients), the organisation (policy makers) and the technical infrastructure (IT managers). Moreover, the lack of research on this topic, particularly in the Arabian Gulf Region, was the reason behind carrying out this study. An in-depth study was conducted by using a quantitative and qualitative approach. A questionnaire was used to explore the attitudes of specialised physicians and patients by obtaining their opinions based on specific criteria. Next, semi-structured interviews were conducted: (1) with IT managers to assess the technical infrastructure of the health system; and (2) with policy makers to assess the organisation in regard to its readiness towards telemedicine adoption. The study shows that the overseas referral patients are ready to use telemedicine systems, as a consequence of their need to receive medical consultations from global experts. However, they expressed some concerns, such as privacy and confidentiality of their data. The specialised physicians also showed readiness towards adoption of telemedicine in the Kuwaiti health system, and their responses indicated that they are willing to use such systems. However, the findings of the interviews reveal that the current technical infrastructure for ICT in the Kuwaiti healthcare system is not ready for telemedicine adoption and there are needs to be change in the way management is organized in order to improve and enhance trust among departments. The qualitative approach identified factors that would inhibit and hinder the adoption of telemedicine in Kuwait, as well as the supportive factors in the organisation. Using the results, a strategy was developed to demonstrate how the Kuwaiti health system could be made ready to receive a telemedicine system, together with policies for the use of telemedicine systems by overseas referral patients. A comparison with Jordan and Syria shows that the Kuwaiti healthcare system is more ready to adopt a telemedicine system with respect to the individuals, technical infrastructure and governmental support. Finally, an economic analysis was performed in order to investigate the cost effectiveness of the proposed system.
Supervisor: Clarke, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tele-referral systems ; Teleconsultation ; Readiness assessment ; Perceptions of the stakeholders ; Information and telecommunications systems management