e-Health readiness has been described as the preparedness of healthcare institutions, communities, or individuals for the anticipated change brought by programmes related to ICT use. Assessment of e-health readiness prior to the implementation of e-health innovations can therefore facilitate the process of change for individuals and organisations to adopt e-health programmes and avoid disappointment. The literature shows that although many e-health readiness assessment frameworks and tools exist, none meet all the requirements for e-health readiness assessment in developing countries. The aim of this study was to develop an e-health readiness assessment framework applicable to developing countries.
A three-step process gleaned from the e-health literature (literature review / material collection; analysis / content analysis; consolidation / conceptual framework synthesis), together with iterative and reflective processes based on prior research undertaken by this group, guided framework conceptualisation and design.
An evidence-based framework was developed that: incorporates the need to assess readiness for each e-health component separately; identifies government’s central role in engaging all relevant stakeholders; and the need to assess the adequacy of a country’s infrastructure and infostructure prior to e-health planning and possible implementation. Also addressed by the framework is a need for an e-health readiness assessment to be undertaken using separate tools for technical and non-technical individuals. A country’s e-Readiness is highlighted as an important indicator for e-health readiness.
The intent of the final framework is to inform and assist policy and decision makers, and facilitate future successful implementation of e-health initiatives in the developing world.