The role and importance of digital health has
been rapidly increasing in many countries of the world,
in the last decade. Furthermore, its uptake dramatically
accelerated during Covid-19 pandemic and is under the
spotlight. In particular, telemedicine has become an only
alternative for the management and prevention of noncommunicable diseases and their complications, during
lockdowns and social distancing. For the effective
utilization of telemedicine services electronic medical
records carry great importance. Electronic medical
records have significant potential to improve quality of
patient care and patient safety, facilitate workflow and
provide benefits to specialists and healthcare
organizations. While benefits and importance of
telemedicine and electronic medical records has been
widely recognized, adoption is still lagging behind in
many countries, especially in developing countries.
The purpose of the presented research was to
identify barriers and challenges for digital health
adoption in healthcare sector, as well as, on the system
level. To best achieve the research objectives, qualitative
research method was applied. At the first stage, a
detailed Literature review was conducted and was
focused on barriers and challenges, as well as, enablers
for broader adoption of telemedicine and EMRs. A total
of 150 articles were identified and among them, 80 were
determined to be relevant. At the second stage of the
research unstructured, in-depth interviews were
conducted with the stakeholders. In total, 29 interviews
were conducted, recorded, transcribed and analyzed
using N-Vivo software.
Analysis of the results revealed that major barriers
for telemedicine and electronic medical record adoption
on the system level are- lack of clear vision and strategy
with regard to digital health, lack of reimbursement of
telemedicine practices, inadequate legislative framework,
lack of coordination and consistency, lack of stakeholder
engagement and cooperation. Moreover, on the provider
level major barriers are – resistance to change, low
awareness, lack of trust in healthcare professionals and
technological illiteracy. Cultural barriers and skepticism
among doctors and specialists contribute to the hindered
adoption of digital health, as well.
On the basis of results of the research
recommendations were elaborated for decision makers.
Consideration of these recommendations will facilitate
irreversible process of digital transformation and
technological disruption of healthcare in the Georgia.
Digital Health, Telemedicine, Electronic Medical Records, Electronic Health Records.