Healthcare corruption taken to task by technology, study shows

September 6, 2016

Mobile phone technology could help to beat bad practices in healthcare delivery, research suggests.

Innovations such as apps offer opportunities for improving governance in the , particularly in low and , the study found.

Experts say that good governance is essential for ensuring citizens have fair access to high quality healthcare.

Corruption, fraud, inefficiency and discrimination are major barriers to medical care provision in many developing countries.

Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge reviewed existing studies on how mobiles, the internet and other are being used to tackle questionable practices in healthcare.

They identified a number of initiatives that are helping to increase transparency and accountability in .

Examples include enabling people to report discrimination or bribery through social media. Barcodes that can be read by mobile devices are helping people to check that their medicines are genuine.

Other initiatives such as automated monitoring of hospital stocks are helping to prevent theft. Mobile phone payment systems can offer additional security to ensure receive their salaries directly.

This is the first comprehensive review of how digital technologies are helping to tackle corruption in healthcare.

Senior researcher Dr Claudia Pagliari, of the University of Edinburgh's Global Health Academy and Usher Institute of Population Health and Informatics, said: "While all countries are affected by these problems to some extent, the health sector in low and middle-income regions has been particularly susceptible. As digital technologies become more widely available there are real opportunities to make a difference, and we've seen some great examples of innovation. Further research is needed to understand which approaches are likely to work best and why."

Isaac Holeman, a Gates Scholar pursuing PhD studies at the University of Cambridge's Judge Business School, and co-founder of the non-profit MedicMobile, adds: "To be effective these technologies need to be designed with a sound understanding of the lived experiences of users and accompanied by the right mechanisms for turning digital insights into action."

The study, published in the Journal of Global Health, was funded by the US Agency for International Development through its Leadership, Management and Government Project.

Explore further: Lung disease costs set to rise to GBP2.5bn per year, experts project

More information: Journal of Global Health, DOI: 10.7189/jogh.06.020408

Related Stories

Lung disease costs set to rise to GBP2.5bn per year, experts project

September 1, 2016
The cost of treating a smoking-related chronic lung disease will exceed more than £2.3 billion per year in England - and £200 million in Scotland - by 2030, research suggests.

Private healthcare no more efficient, accountable or effective than public sector in LMICs

June 19, 2012
A systematic review conducted by Sanjay Basu of the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues re-evaluated the evidence relating to comparative performance of public versus private sector healthcare delivery ...

Politics affect views on healthcare quality—but not on personal experience with care

September 1, 2016
What do you think about the quality of healthcare in the United States? Your opinion may depend on your politics, with Democrats perceiving more problems in the healthcare system compared to Republicans, reports a study in ...

Regenstrief project assembles health information from different electronic medical records

August 18, 2016
If you are rushed to a hospital in an emergency, is your complete medical record available to those caring for you? Will they know all medications you have been prescribed and whether you are taking them as directed? Does ...

Will fitness trackers damage our relationships with our doctors?

December 23, 2015
Wearable fitness trackers are likely to have been on many people's Christmas lists this year. Marketed simultaneously as fashion accessories and the answer to our obesity problems, wristbands and other gadgets that monitor ...

Recommended for you

To reduce postoperative pain, consider sleep—and caffeine

August 18, 2017
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, and chronic insufficient sleep increases the risk for several chronic health problems.

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.