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The use of sustainable and scalable health care technologies in developing countries

Authors Clifford GD

Received 7 April 2015

Accepted for publication 13 October 2015

Published 4 March 2016 Volume 2016:3 Pages 35—46

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IEH.S60808

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Professor Rubin Pillay

Gari D Clifford1–3

1Department of Biomedical Informatics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA; 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA; 3Centre for Affordable Health Care Technology, Kellogg College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Abstract: Although health care technology is progressing, in important ways access is dropping for many communities across the globe. Contributing factors include increasing awareness and options for diagnosis and treatment, and hence expectations, with consequential increases in complexity, training, and costs for health service delivery. Changes in wealth distribution, aging populations, and increasing burdens from chronic conditions also exacerbate these issues. Many attempts at delivering affordable health care technologies into resource-poor regions of the world have had limited impact, often with a focus only on cost or simplicity. However, with close attention to appropriate design considerations, including sustainable business practices and local cultural dynamics, there is the potential to revolutionize the field and deliver health care support technologies that empower, educate, and learn from the user. This article discusses the main concepts in designing relevant and sustainable health care technologies for resource-constrained communities and proposes structural ecosystem changes that may be required to achieve this goal.

Keywords: affordable health care, open source, scalable technology, developing countries, emerging economies

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