An assessment of telemedicine services within the Western Cape public health care system

by Andre Hartmann

Institution: Stellenbosch University
Department: Industrial Engineering
Degree: MEng
Year: 2014
Keywords: Industrial engineering
Record ID: 1475412
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86225


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Telemedicine is de ned as an electronic exchange of medical information and/or the delivery of clinical health care over a distance, by means of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). South Africa is faced with the problem of providing health care to a population in urban, as well as across vast rural areas. In addition to this, the South African health care system must deal with economical imbalances and a shortage of human resources to provide quality health care. Telemedicine services could provide a solution. Since the introduction of the rst national telemedicine services initiative in the late 1990s, a number of South African telemedicine services have been implemented in the public health care system. The majority of these telemedicine services have been prone to failure and many were prematurely terminated. The circumstances which in uence the failure or success of these services are not unknown. The lack of insight, and the high failure rate of telemedicine services implemented in the South Africa were the reasons for conducting this study. The purpose of the study is to assess telemedicine services implemented in the Western Cape public health care sector. The purpose is also to provide recommendations for improving the current and future telemedicine services in the Western Cape and other provinces. A telemedicine services assessment was conducted on a total of 26 telemedicine services identi ed at 6 health care facilities located in the Western Cape. The assessments were based on the TeleMedicine Services Maturity Model (TMSMM), which was developed speci cally for the purpose of assessing telemedicine services. The TMSMM capability statements were used as a yardstick to assess the maturity of each of the elements of telemedicine services in terms of the three service level groups (micro-,meso- and macro-level) and ve telemedicine domains (man, machine, material, method and money). The assessment process included: (i) the identi cation of telemedicine services at the selected health care facilities; (ii) the gathering of the relevant telemedicine service data by means of structured interviews; (iii) the transformation of the complex ow of information into Data Flow Diagrams (DFDs); (iv) the loading of telemedicine services data into a data warehouse; and (v) the analysis of data by means of On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP), as well as box-and-whisker plots and statistical correlations. Based on the results of the TMSMM assessment, an electronic questionnaire was developed and administered amongst health care workers throughout the entire Western Cape. The questionnaire con rmed that the ndings from the TMSMM assessment are indeed representative of the entire Western Cape. The assessment of the telemedicine services provides information about the elements which a ect the success or failure of these services. This therefore addresses the initial research problem and ful ls the purpose of the study. These results were used as an input…