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NTC supports culturally sensitive, technologically appropriate, and needs-based application of e-health for the benefit of the global community.
- Culturally sensitive?
Cultural sensitivity requires solutions that respect local traditions, expectations of the healthcare system, beliefs about health and disease, and patterns of usage of available healthcare services.
Ignoring local health culture, such as traditional healers or medicines, may undermine efforts to introduce e-health initiatives. Or insufficient local resources may lead to abuse of modern medicines, such as using reduced doses of antibiotics which may lead to development of resistant strains capable of global spread. Solid experience and knowledge of cultural limitations must guide the design and implementation of e-health solutions.
- Technologically appropriate?
A ‘technologically appropriate’ application is one that uses the most benign technological solution that achieves the desired purpose within the confines of current social, cultural, environmental, and economic conditions of the setting in which it is to be applied, and which promotes self-sufficiency on the part of those using it in that setting.
Described in this fashion, a technologically appropriate solution would typically be simple to adopt and require fewer resources to operate and maintain (making it more likely to be sustainable and environmentally friendly). Appropriate technology is NOT inferior – indeed, the innovative challenge (scientific, social, and business) – is great.
To be ‘needs-based’ an e-health solution is identified because it responds to the greatest health need of a country (or sub-national region; or a healthcare facility), not because it is chosen by someone who perceives it to be necessary. For example, needs may be identified because they respond to the largest proportion of the population affected by a disease or the most costly health issue, but they must be demonstrated through evidence.