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Poor adoption of eHealth blamed on lack of knowledge amongst healthcare providers, patients

The rise of digital health has undoubtedly had a profound set of shifts in the way individuals engage with matters of health.

Medical experts say there is a need to devise new ways to deliver healthcare services through the use of technology and innovation to fill the gap created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctors under the Kenya Medical Association (KMA), said the disruption of the everyday manner in which Kenyans conduct their business has necessitated the need to use technology.

Speaking during this year’s KMA 48th annual conference in Kisii under the theme: The Future Today: Technology and Innovation in Healthcare, participants said the country has a good opportunity to make the necessary and lasting changes to healthcare through the adoption and use of the technology available in the market.

KMA President Dr Were Anyino said stakeholders in the health sector need to meet, share, and exchange insights relating to digital health innovations, new technologies and tools, and the latest trends in patient management to transform healthcare services delivery in Kenya as the country plans to launch the Universal Health Cover for all.

“There is a need for an enabling policy framework to be enacted by the Government to ensure that we use technology safely and effectively to meet the health needs of our population. The Human resource gaps in the sector also calls for the adoption of technology including Artificial Intelligence (AI) to ensure that the far-flung areas of the country also have access to quality health services.”

Dr Enock Ondari, the Association’s Kisii Division Chairman said the region has experienced a rise in both public and private healthcare service provision, a scenario attributed to deliberate efforts by the county government to improve the ease of doing business index.

“There is an absolute need to stir the waters in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic to sustain UHC as was envisioned by the government in addition to enhancing entrepreneurial activity in the health sector which has remained disappointingly low.”

In an abstract; Assessing eHealth Knowledge Diffusion Within the Public Health Sector in Kenya Using Social Network Analysis, Dr Ryan Nyotu Gitau, Prof. Tania Douglas says Electronic health (eHealth), the utilisation of information and communication technologies in healthcare, is an innovation with the potential to improve access to health services.

“eHealth solutions have been poorly adopted in the public healthcare sector, which has partly been blamed on lack of knowledge amongst healthcare providers and patients.”

Dr Nyotu and prof Tania say proper categorization of the population and offering propositions suitable for respective categories or clusters can bring the universal health coverage closer to reality.

In their study; Enhancing Universal Health Cover Access Through the use of Telehealth, the authors, Dr Were Onyino, John Mwangi, Nyambura Muroki and Simon Injiir state that the use of telemedicine technology is the key to ensuring that every Kenyan has access to UHC.

“The question of access to services by the public has come up severally. Moreso, in hard to reach areas where there is hardly any health facility.”

Dr Stella Omari, an expert in Human Resource Management explains that the onset of Covid19 in 2020 rocked the boat of many organizations however the health sector was most affected as the health care workers were to take care of everyone else.

“This calls for the Country to embrace technology and innovations in the management of patients. The pandemic has brought about a lot of stress and discomfort to health care professionals. Resilience is about positive adjustment under crisis or stress and getting back to a new stable state.”

She avers that engaged employees will be resilient and lead to more productivity, learning, growth and competence all of which are positive attributes for successful employees.

“Research has shown that employees who report being engaged at work demonstrate greater workplace performance, express their authentic selves through physical involvement, cognitive awareness and emotional connections, on the contrary, disengaged employees disassociate themselves from their roles, suppress personal involvement in physical, cognitive and emotional aspects of work.”

By Frank Akunga

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