Luz, S., Masoodian, M., & Cesario, M. (2015). Disease surveillance and patient care in remote regions: an exploratory study of collaboration among healthcare professionals in Amazonia. Behaviour & Information Technology, 34(6), 548–565. http://doi.org/10.1080/0144929x.2013.853836
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9321
The development and deployment of information technology, particularly mobile tools, to support collaboration between different groups of healthcare professionals has been viewed as a promising way to improve disease surveillance and patient care in remote regions. The effects of global climate change combined with rapid changes to land cover and use in Amazonia are believed to be contributing to the spread of vector-borne emerging and neglected diseases. This makes empowering and providing support for local healthcare providers all the more important. We investigate the use of information technology in this context to support professionals whose activities range from diagnosing diseases and monitoring their spread to developing policies to deal with outbreaks. An analysis of stakeholders, their roles and requirements, is presented which encompasses results of fieldwork and of a process of design and prototyping complemented by questionnaires and targeted interviews. Findings are analysed with respect to the tasks of diagnosis, training of local healthcare professionals, and gathering, sharing and visualisation of data for purposes of epidemiological research and disease surveillance. Methodological issues regarding the elicitation of cooperation and collaboration requirements are discussed and implications are drawn with respect to the use of technology in tackling emerging and neglected diseases.
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