"This paper aims to encourage further discussion and research around the economics of eHealth in LMICs. Some important questions for consideration include: 1) the costs of eHealth infrastructure; 2) regulatory structures which provide incentives at different levels of the health delivery system to encourage investment in, and use of, eHealth; and 3) measuring the outcomes of successful eHealth utilization, including anticipated return on investment (ROI). The need is not just to add up the costs of ICTs, but to compare the costs of a distributed approach to the current health service delivery cost structure. It should also be noted that eHealth and mHealth deployments to date have almost invariably been one – off solutions for specific problems, rather than standardized, integrated systems connecting and sharing information along the full continuum of care. A siloed approach can result in 1) interoperability concerns, and 2) the inability to promote scale. And finally, it is important to evaluate how eHealth is applied, as that will also determine its effectiveness.
In recognition that eHealth is already a rapidly progressing field, answers to these questions can help identify: 1) how to best leverage these technologies at lowest cost, and 2) how to prioritize initiatives based on need, availability of resources, and anticipated outcomes. Toward this aim, we have divided the paper into two main sections focused on the costs and benefits of eHealth. Each section will highlight specific questions for further research, setting the roadmap for ongoing research and analysis. Within each question, we review the available literature, propose promising areas of enquiry, and offer methods to generate economic models for planning and analysis."
Source: Schweitzer, J., Synowiec, C., 2010. Results for Development Institute.