Digital health and its application in rural areas: a review of international experience

Peck, Frank, Jackson, Keith and Marshall, Alison (2015) Digital health and its application in rural areas: a review of international experience. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In recent years, there has been growing interest in research on the application of digital technologies in the delivery of health and social care. These debates have ranged widely, focusing in particular on the development of the technologies and their impacts on the quality and efficiency of health service delivery. As part of this debate, research has considered the extent to which digital technologies can be used to address spatial health inequalities that persist at various scales. While there are important health divides within major cities, there are also persistent differences between urban and rural areas. It is widely recognised, for instance, that rural communities are commonly disadvantaged due to remoteness and low population density that limits the range of specialist healthcare facilities that are made available. In this context, the purpose of this article is to review recent research that examines the application of digital health and the extent to which it can be used to overcome rural disadvantage. It is intended that this review will form a basis of consideration of the potential for digital solutions to health inequalities within the County of Cumbria, in the north-west of England, UK. A systematic search of relevant literature was undertaken in order to identify and collate relevant articles. This was achieved using combinations of search terms including appropriate medical terminology (such as “telemedicine”, “telehealth”, “ehealth” “telecare”) in combination with locational descriptions (primarily “rural areas” or “rural community”). During the process, a decision was taken to include examples from both developed and developing countries. While recognising that there are very significant differences between rural areas in these two contexts, there are some parallels in terms of the barriers created by remoteness and low population density. Also, inclusion of a wide range of socio-economic settings provides opportunities to comment on the role of digital technology in delivering health care at different stages in economic development (Rygh & Hjortdahl, 2007). The impact of rurality varies from developing to developed countries and rurality is often used as a metaphor for remote areas populated by indigenous peoples in developed countries.

Item Type: Report
Departments: Centre for Regional Economic Development (CRED)
Cumbrian Centre for Health Technologies (CACHET)
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 11:42
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2019 16:07
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/4884

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