Health Professional Students Preparedness for E-Health
The term ehealth is variably defined and used as it is the case with new terminologies. It is almost impossible to reach an unanimous definition of eHealth . eHealth is defined by WHO, in very simple terms, as "the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health . This definition, though simple, is wide and without clear boundaries. In spite of this uncertainty, the term is firmly grounded in academic literature. Eighty five percent of the member states of the United Nations have an ehealth strategy and 55% have a legislation to protect patient data . The implementation of ehealth facilitates communication between patients and healthcare professional as it is the case in managing diabetes mellitus, cardiac disease, smoking, and cancer prevention [4-7].
Background: E-health is one of the recent major developments in healthcare provision. Today’s Health Professional Students are considered digitally oriented and this may endow them with the necessary capabilities to implement E-health on graduation. Aim: to assess student’s views, use, confidence and need for training on E-health. Participants: 4th, 5th and internship year students of the medical and dental schools at the Libyan International Medical University. Methods: A cross-sectional study using an online administered survey. Prior to implementation, the questionnaire was reviewed by experts and then piloted on a group of research targeted students. Likert scale was used for most questions and few were in the form of short answers. Descriptive statistics were reported using SPSS version 20.0. Results: One hundred and two students responded and all responders were included for most select-response questions. The male to female ratio was 2:3 with a mean age of 24±1.8 years. Medical students accounted for 52% of participants. An average of 45% reported proficiency in written and spoken English. Only 12% have taken IT-related courses. Their view to E-health was moderately positive with a mean of 3.5±0.34 of 3.1±1.029. In spite of this, 43±3.9% have negative views on E-health. 58% use digital tools and software with a mean score of 2.43±0.6. Most students reported using social media especially Facebook (Mean 4.95±1.7). Students reported confidence level of ICT use of 3.4±1.2. They also described their confidence in learning a new technology with a value of 3±0.3. 32.9% expressed an overall need for training on ICT tools. Conclusion: The overall preparedness of this group for ICT is moderate and needs improvement. This could be achieved through introducing changes in the taught curriculum.