Este artigo faz parte de uma série de artigos redigidos por colaboradores do Departamento de Ensino e Ação Social da ANEEB. Apoie o autor lendo o artigo no seu LinkedIn.

The difficulties experienced in transfer of medical technology to developing countries are aggravated by partial and incomplete understanding of the cultural, social, economic, and institutional factors affecting technology development, transfer, dissemination and use.

Faced with severe resource limitations, developing countries are trying to develop modern health care services that deliver sensible medical technologies. Because of their lack of development, these countries must import much technology, while often lacking the expertise to make wise choices.

On site, the technologies are often inexpertly applied, and along with expensive pharmaceuticals and medical devices, they become a drain on national resources. The majority of the south-american and african countries suffers from inadequate access of the population to health services, due in large part to a maldistribution of resources and wealth in general, and heavy private-sector control of health and technological services. Other problems include maldistribution and lack of technology, a relatively weak national industry for production of drugs and medical devices, and a weak policy structure for dealing with medical technology.

Bringing the internet and the cloud to multiple countries allow them to step away from paper to improve the accuracy in data processing and patient procedures and enable medical providers and governments step up in transparency and instill trust in patients regarding their healthcare. The shift from paperwork to mobile improves accuracy and prioritizes time toward the patient. Children birthed outside hospitals can be counted in Uganda and Nigeria with the help of SMS, and delays for getting back HIV test results reduced from 45 days down to two in Malawi and Zambia. Combining mobile health with open access, governments transparency would increases in healthcare delivery.

Mobile technology can offer an intrinsic role in dealing with emergencies and growing health concerns in developing countries, such as the 2013 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Future governments may track phones to collect data about patterns of movements to focus on high-risk areas but would need to enact policy on transparency and privacy. However, governments mistrust, poor infrastructure and no reliable power prevent developing countries from taking the road to innovation in healthcare.

Enrolling patients in clinical trials also provides access to quality healthcare, especially for patients in small communities who can’t afford to travel due to a lack of transportation or finances. Many patients also don’t know to look for clinical trials on specific medical websites, but technologies like VitalTrax help caregivers, engineers, patients and families find clinical trials globally in a language they understand.

Mobile technology is more inclusive of others worldwide, and many developing countries get innovate about what they do to support the patients within their care. 60 million people have type 2 diabetes in India, 36 million suffer from hepatitis B and 2.6 million struggle with HIV. One Indian doctor created the Swasthya Slate, a portable device that records hepatitis B status, HIV status and blood glucose in addition to 30 more diagnostic tests. Smartphone tech promises to reduce the costs of medical devices used every day. Imagine an ultrasound compatible with a smartphone, which exists and has revolutionized the point of care ultrasound. With this device, doctors easily set central lines, diagnoses emergencies faster, scan pregnant women and guide injections.

The developing world leads medical technology in this way creatively. Smartphones are intuitive devices that allow for innovation especially when doctors in developing countries have to think on their feet. Doctors in countries like Kosovo, Indonesia, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia employ resource-scarce environments, emergency situations and remote settings, all the quality tech for a fraction of what it costs major western hospitals and doctor offices.

Major technology doesn’t start in the North and travel to other areas of the globe. Many countries have unique sets of circumstances and characteristics that motivate them to look for affordable and creative costs to everyday concerns. General Electric’s talent designed a portable ultrasound that medical professionals can plug into a laptop. The device costs less than the traditional bulky mode and it’s usable in remote areas.

Innovation occurs around the globe, whether countries are rich or poor, but developed countries have many unique offerings that will change the future of health technology and care.

References

[1] Banta, H. D. (1986); Medical Technology and Developing Countries: The Case of Brazil. International Journal of Health Services, 16(3), 363–373. https://doi.org/10.2190/7H41-XEEB-AQYY-0CN6

[2] Wetmore, D; HOW TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING ECONOMIES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, The Borgen Project, Online: https://borgenproject.org/how-technology-is-helping-economies/

[3] Yanes, J.; Mobile Technologies for Third World Development, BBVA Open Mind, Online: https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/technology/innovation/mobile-technologies-for-third-world-development/

[4] Harveston, K.; How Technology Can Change Healthcare In Developing Countries, HealthWorksCollective, Online: https://www.healthworkscollective.com/how-technology-can-change-healthcare-in-developing-countries/

[5] Banta H.D. (1988) The Transfer of Medical Technology in Developing Countries: The Case of Brazil. In: Rutten F.F.H., https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-72785-6_4

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