The emergence of telemedicine in a low-middle-income country: challenges and opportunities

1 Mar 2024
Kofi Adesi Kyei, George Nakoja Onajah, Joseph Daniels

The quality of cancer care delivery varies across different regions of Ghana, highlighting the need for improved access to quality healthcare services. Telemedicine has emerged as a promising solution to address this disparity, as it can reduce costs and improve access to healthcare services for cancer patients in remote areas. Despite the widely reported benefits of telemedicine, its adoption in low-resource settings has been slow due to several challenges. This study explores strategies for incorporating telemedicine into the current healthcare system in Ghana for the benefit of all patients especially those diagnosed with cancer. The study also highlights the current challenges and opportunities associated with the implementation and utilisation of telemedicine in Ghana. This research was a cross-sectional study conducted in Accra, Ghana that adopted a mixed-methods approach. Participants were selected through multi-stage probability sampling. Quantitative data were collected via a survey whereas qualitative data were obtained by means of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions among healthcare professionals, patients and key stakeholders in the telemedicine industry. The Statistical Program for the Social Sciences (version 21) was used to assemble, analyse and display the research data. The major challenges discussed centered on high initial investment costs, privacy and security concerns, poor internet connectivity, insufficient infrastructure and training of healthcare providers as well as the resistance to change among healthcare professionals. The study contributes to the understanding of telemedicine adoption in Ghana with findings underscoring the potential to address healthcare challenges while highlighting the need to overcome implementation obstacles. The study findings also provide valuable insights for policymakers, healthcare institutions and stakeholders to enhance telemedicine adoption in Ghana.

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