An investigation into the relevance of a mobile medical expert system as a provider of medical advice and diagnosis to patients in Zimbabwe

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Author: 
Kitso Dube and Judith Mwenje
Abstract: 

Zimbabwe’s public health industry continues to be plagued with diminishing national budget allocations, the brain drain of medical professionals and a growing population that depends on this sector that is so under-resourced. This means the industry has to do more with fewer resources which is very arduous and Zimbabwe’s Healthcare system is currently in a crisis. It is clear, that the medical professionals who left Zimbabwe for greener pastures are unlikely to return The health professionals that have remained in the country have to work twice or thrice as hard to provide the same quality services in information, diagnoses and treatments to patients. It then becomes a major concern as to what then happens to the average citizens who cannot afford private healthcare, who must be in queues at odd hours of the morning hoping to get a medical professional’s opinion on their sickness (considering how over-worked and de-motivated some of the professionals are). The research focuses on ascertaining the relevance of introducing a mobile Medical Expert System (mMES) to help solve part of the under-staffing problem that public hospitals and clinics face, which affects the quality of health services delivered. An mMES is a computer program that is given all the information that a medical professional has. Having considered the types of Management Information Systems, the researcher chose to focus on expert systems (ES).. The study investigates the relevance of mobile medical expert systems (mMES) as providers of medical advice and diagnoses to the ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe. The study was conducted to provide a possible solution towards addressing the labour shortage of medical professionals in the country... Though medical professionals are in short supply, mobile devices such as cell phones are available even in remote areas and they can provide information that can help save lives as patients wait for doctors for long periods even days or months in the case of some rural or remote areas. In some cases people have to travel long distances to get to clinics or hospitals. The findings from the chapter were that there is no mMES in Zimbabwe, the mMES would be a useful tool for patients in Bulawayo, the prevalent diseases in the city are HIV related infections, Diarrhea and Malnutrition, It is clear that the mMES is a groundbreaking technology that could help address part of the labour shortage challenge in the health industry.

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   Vol. 07, Issue 03, March 2017

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