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Abstract

We empirically investigate the relationship between information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the delivery of country-level public health. Our underlying hypothesis is that ICTs can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public health delivery mechanisms. In our framework, we include the ICT factors of accessibility, quality, affordability, applications, and institutional efficiency and sustainability. The public health delivery is represented by the changes in the indicators of immunization coverage, TB infection, sanitation, undernourishment, life expectancy, mortality rate, and health care expenses. Results indicate in most cases ICT factors have a significant correlation to a country’s delivery of public health over and above a country’s income level. The “Accessibility” ICT factor contributes to improved delivery for nearly all of the public health indicators. This is followed by “ICT Applications.” Increased ICTs usage leads to increased health care expenditure. Our findings are useful at the country level for informing policy decisions regarding the nature and extent of investment in ICT infrastructure for the delivery of public health. We do caution that merely investing in more ICTs does not imply an automatic improvement in public health. Rather, ICTs have the potential to improve the delivery process.

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