Publications by authors named "Gumindu Kulatunga"

4 Publications

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Telehealth and the COVID-19 Pandemic: International Perspectives and a Health Systems Framework for Telehealth Implementation to Support Critical Response.

Yearb Med Inform 2021 Apr 21. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Puttaparthi, India.

Objectives: Telehealth implementation is a complex systems-based endeavour. This paper compares telehealth responses to (COrona VIrus Disease 2019) COVID-19 across ten countries to identify lessons learned about the complexity of telehealth during critical response such as in response to a global pandemic. Our overall objective is to develop a health systems-based framework for telehealth implementation to support critical response.

Methods: We sought responses from the members of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) Telehealth Working Group (WG) on their practices and perception of telehealth practices during the times of COVID-19 pandemic in their respective countries. We then analysed their responses to identify six emerging themes that we mapped to the World Health Organization (WHO) model of health systems.

Results: Our analysis identified six emergent themes. (1) Government, legal or regulatory aspects of telehealth; (2) Increase in telehealth capacity and delivery; (3) Regulated and unregulated telehealth; (4) Changes in the uptake and perception of telemedicine; (5) Public engagement in telehealth responses to COVID-19; and (6) Implications for training and education. We discuss these themes and then use them to develop a systems framework for telehealth support in critical response.

Conclusion: COVID-19 has introduced new challenges for telehealth support in times of critical response. Our themes and systems framework extend the WHO systems model and highlight that telemedicine usage in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is complex and multidimensional. Our systems-based framework provides guidance for telehealth implementation as part of health systems response to a global pandemic such as COVID-19.
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April 2021

Ethics in Telehealth: Comparison between Guidelines and Practice-based Experience -the Case for Learning Health Systems.

Yearb Med Inform 2020 Aug 17;29(1):44-50. Epub 2020 Apr 17.

School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Objectives: To understand ethical issues within the tele-health domain, specifically how well established macro level telehealth guidelines map with micro level practitioner perspectives.

Methods: We developed four overarching issues to use as a starting point for developing an ethical framework for telehealth. We then reviewed telemedicine ethics guidelines elaborated by the American Medical Association (AMA), the World Medical Association (WMA), and the telehealth component of the Health Professions council of South Africa (HPCSA). We then compared these guidelines with practitioner perspectives to identify the similarities and differences between them. Finally, we generated suggestions to bridge the gap between ethics guidelines and the micro level use of telehealth.

Results: Clear differences emerged between the ethics guidelines and the practitioner perspectives. The main reason for the differences were the different contexts where telehealth was used, for example, variability in international practice and variations in the complexity of patient-provider interactions. Overall, published guidelines largely focus on macro level issues related to technology and maintaining data security in patient-provider interactions while practitioner concern is focused on applying the guidelines to specific micro level contexts.

Conclusions: Ethics guidelines on telehealth have a macro level focus in contrast to the micro level needs of practitioners. Work is needed to close this gap. We recommend that both telehealth practitioners and ethics guideline developers better understand healthcare systems and adopt a learning health system approach that draws upon different contexts of clinical practice, innovative models of care delivery, emergent data and evidence-based outcomes. This would help develop a clearer set of priorities and guidelines for the ethical conduct of telehealth.
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August 2020

Governance and management of national telehealth programs in Asia.

Stud Health Technol Inform 2015 ;209:95-101

University of the Philippines Manila.

Unlabelled: Telehealth and telemedicine are increasingly becoming accepted practices in Asia, but challenges remain in deploying these services to the farthest areas of many developing countries. With the increasing popularity of universal health coverage, there is a resurgence in promoting telehealth services. But while telehealth that reaches the remotest part of a nation is the ideal endpoint, such goals are burdened by various constraints ranging from governance to funding to infrastructure and operational efficiency.

Objectives: enumerate the public funded national telehealth programs in Asia and determine the state of their governance and management.

Method: Review of literature, review of official program websites and request for information from key informants.

Conclusions: While there are national telehealth programs already in operation in Asia, most experience challenges with governance and subsequently, with management and sustainability of operations. It is important to learn from successful programs that have built and maintained their services over time. An IT governance framework may assist countries to achieve success in offering telehealth and telemedicine to their citizens.
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October 2016

Development and implementation of a web-based continuing professional development (CPD) programme on medical genetics.

J Telemed Telecare 2013 Oct;19(7):388-92

Health Education Bureau, Ministry of Health, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

We developed, implemented and evaluated a web-based continuing professional development (CPD) programme on medical genetics. Development of the CPD programme followed the ADDIE model, i.e. Analysis, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluation. An invitation to participate in a needs analysis survey was sent to all doctors on the email list of the Sri Lanka Medical Association. A total of 129 completed surveys was received (57% of the 228 who accessed the online survey). The average age of respondents was 42 years (range 27-81). The male: female ratio was approximately 2 : 1. Almost all respondents (96%) selected web-based CPD programmes, or web-based and conventional lectures, as their preferred method of learning. The programme was piloted on a group of 10 doctors. The average pre-knowledge score was 40.3 and the post-knowledge score was 62.1 marks out of 100 (P = 0.002). We conclude that a web-based CPD programme on medical genetics is feasible in Sri Lanka.
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October 2013