Telehealth practice and the impact of new technologies (NTs) : a thesis submitted to the Institute of Information and Mathematics Sciences (IIMS) at Massey University in Albany campus in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Information Technology, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand
Telehealth aims at delivering healthcare services equally to all citizens whether in rural or urban areas. As delivering healthcare services remotely depends substantially upon technology, and with the ever-increasing improvements of new technologies (NTs), telehealth facilities can be distantly, ubiquitously, more rapidly, and cost-effectively delivered to patients to obtain better quality healthcare services. The objective of the study was to identify the impact of NTs on the contemporary telehealth practice as well as briefly evaluating telehealth practice in several developed countries and attempting to propose a proper strategy for developing nations. In addition, advantages and barriers of telehealth were considered. An online survey was carried out and distributed to a convenience sampling which included 49 participants of healthcare professionals to achieve their attitudes and viewpoints about the impact of NTs to the current telehealth practice. However, results demonstrated that modern smart phones and tablets such as iPhones, iPads and Samsung Galaxy taps are of the most used technologies in telehealth practice and participants reported that these technologies are very important in providing quality services. Additionally, almost all participants believed that the use of technological devices will lead to improvements in the quality of care as well as reducing both clinical and travelling costs. Some advantages of using NTs in telehealth and several barriers, that may bound the development of telehealth process, were also mentioned. A suggested telehealth strategy for developing countries was illustrated in this study. It is recommended that effective steps should be taken to remove the barriers that are hindering the progress of modern telehealth practices. As well as, necessary policy changes should be made to cover the cost of telehealth equipments in the health board budgets.