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Title: Strengthening health systems through eHealth : two mixed-methods case studies at 10 facilities in Malawi
Author: Kawale, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 358X
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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Background: International agencies such as the World Health Organisation have highlighted the potential of digital information and communications technologies to strengthen health systems, which are underpinned by the 'building blocks' of information, human resources, finances, commodities, leadership and governance, and service delivery. In high income countries, evidence of the positive impacts of 'eHealth' innovations on the cost-effectiveness of healthcare is growing and many governments are now providing incentives for their adoption. In contrast, the use of eHealth in developing countries has remained low and efforts to introduce these new approaches have experienced high failure rates. There is even scepticism regarding the feasibility of eHealth in low-resource settings, which may be hindered by high costs, indeterminate returns on investment, technical problems and socio-organisational barriers. More research is needed to document both the value of eHealth for strengthening resource-limited health systems and the challenges involved in their implementation and adoption, so that insights from such research may be used to inform future initiatives. While many studies of eHealth for patient care in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) are taking place, evidence of its role in improving administrative processes such as financial management is lacking, despite the importance of 'good governance' (transparency and accountability) for ensuring strong and resilient health systems. The overall objective of this PhD was to elucidate the enablers, inhibitors and outcomes characterising the implementation and adoption of a modular eHealth system in a group of healthcare facilities in rural Malawi. The system included both clinical and billing modules. The specific objectives were (i) to understand the socio-technical, organisational and change management factors facilitating or hindering the implementation and adoption of the eHealth system, (ii) to assess the quality of data captured by the eHealth system compared with conventional paper-based records, and (iii) to understand how information within the eHealth system was used for service delivery, reporting and financial management. A further aim was to contribute to the corpus of mixed-methods case studies exploring eHealth system implementation processes and outcomes (including data quality) in LMIC. As described in the following chapters, the research also gave rise to unanticipated and serendipitous findings, which led to new lines of enquiry and influenced the theoretical perspectives from which the analysis drew.
Supervisor: Pagliari, Claudia ; Grant, Liz Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: eHealth ; Health information systems ; low-income countries ; global health