1Institute of Public Health, Tirana, Albania.
Aim: Albania has made significant progress in the use of information and communications technology in the health sector. The introduction of the National Electronic Health Records system, several eHealth pilot programs, as well as online services for the primary care users are major steps in this regard.
Methods: A literature review of papers and materials concerning eHealth and primary health care was performed. Papers focusing on implementing eHealth in primary health care in low- and middle-income countries were selected.
Results: Many studies provide evidence that eHealth has the potential to improve primary care practice and quality of care. Patient reminder systems and patient tracking systems have proved to be effective in the management of chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and asthma, which are on the rise worldwide. Also, eHealth supports the transition towards a personalized and citizen-centered medicine, as well as shared decision-making in primary care. In addition, evidence from various studies suggests that eHealth can also be utilized to enhance access to healthcare and health equity.
Conclusion: The potential of eHealth to affect primary care in low resource settings is high, but there is little evidence on its cost-effectiveness. eHealth initiatives require strategic and integrated action at the national level in order to improve primary health care services. Developing a National eHealth policy or strategy should be considered essential in the coming years.
Keywords: disease management, eHealth, primary health care.