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Int J Health Care Qual Assur. 2015;28(6):611-20. doi: 10.1108/IJHCQA-01-2015-0016.

Introducing modern technology to promote transparency in health services.

Author information

1
School of Environment, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Quantitative indicators show that Bangladeshi maternal and child healthcare is progressing satisfactorily. However, healthcare quality is still inadequate. It is hypothesised that modern technology enhances healthcare quality. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how modern technology such as electronic record keeping and the internet can contribute to enhancing Bangladeshi healthcare quality. This study also explores how socio-economic and political factors affect the healthcare quality.

DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH:

This paper is based on a qualitative case study involving 68 in-depth interviews with healthcare professionals, elected representatives, local informants and five focus group discussions with healthcare service users to understand technology's effect on health service quality. The study has been conducted in one rural and one urban service organisations to understand how various factors contribute differently to healthcare quality.

FINDINGS:

The findings show that modern technology, such as the internet and electronic devices for record keeping, contribute significantly to enhancing health service transparency, which in turn leads to quality health and family planning services. The findings also show that information and communication technology (ICT) is an effective mechanism for reducing corruption and promoting transparency. However, resource constraints impact adversely on the introduction of technology, which leads to less transparent healthcare. Progress in education and general socio-economic conditions makes it suitable to enhance ICT usage, which could lead to healthcare transparency, but political and bureaucratic factors pose a major challenge to ensure transparency.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS:

This paper can be a useful guide for promoting governance and healthcare quality in developing countries including Bangladesh. It analyses the ICT challenges that healthcare staff face when promoting transparent healthcare.

ORIGINALITY/VALUE:

This paper provides a deeper understanding of transparency and healthcare quality in an ICT context using empirical data, which has not been explored in Bangladesh. This critical thinking is useful for policy makers and healthcare practitioners for promoting health service quality.

KEYWORDS:

Access to information; Bangladesh; Communication technology; Healthcare quality; Political factors; Socio-economic factors; Transparency

PMID:
26156434
DOI:
10.1108/IJHCQA-01-2015-0016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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