Information and Communication Technologies and Global Health Challenges

Healthcare is an information-based field with increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Current ICT tools are in development, but with brighter future to support healthcare. In this chapter we will cover five areas of ICT in healthcare: electronic health record (EHR), health information exchange (HIE), telemedicine, mHealth, and social media. In each of these areas, we examine the current applications and discuss the main challenges to reach a wider adoption. Steps to better EHRs include: review the current EHR systems, try to emulate benchmark practices, involve and train the users of the system, evaluate the benefits, and update the system when needed. HIE requires the simplification and harmonization of existing standards, more precise legal rules, subsidies to sustainability. Telemedicine needs legal definition for providing and consuming services, subsidies to sustainability, and adapting to different needs of each region. mHealth has to overcome security issues, integrate to national and international healthcare programs and standards, define metrics for quantifying for its real benefits, and subsidies to sustainability. Social Media needs to deal with the problem of reliability of information, privacy and confidentiality, definition of guidelines for healthcare professionals, and more precise legal rules.


Gutierrez MA, Moreno RA, Rebelo MS. Information and communication technologies and global health challenges. InGlobal Health Informatics 2017 Jan 1 (pp. 50-93). Academic Press.

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