How Global Is ‘e-Health’ and ‘Knowledge Translation’?

Part of the Healthcare Delivery in the Information Age book series (Healthcare Delivery Inform. Age)


A major element of e-Health (the use of information and communications technology for health and health care) is the application of strategies and tools to support the dissemination of knowledge among health-care providers, patients and the general public. As such, e-Health would be expected to be recognized as a significant user of technology-enabled knowledge translation (TEKT). There is a perception that e-Health is global in its pervasiveness and is most successfully implemented when supported by knowledge translation (KT). Through a structured and focused literature review, this study gathered evidence to identify how pervasive e-Health is among the world’s 248 recognized countries, and how extensively KT is acknowledged as a tool to support introduction of sustainable e-Health solutions. Evidence for the presence of an e-Health-related activity within the last 15 years was found for all but 31 of the world’s 238 United Nations (UN) recognised countries (13%), most of which were island protectorates. While evidence of widespread recognition of KT was evident, overt association of KT with e-Health was identified in only two countries (Canada and the USA). Key findings emerging from this study were that e-Health can be considered ‘global’ in its pervasiveness, but that KT remains a recognized entity in only a limited number of countries. Further, the application KT is not essential for the introduction of e-Health solutions; however, implementing sustainable e-Health is best supported by linking and aligning KT with e-Health planning. These both raise the awareness of KT but, moreover, contribute to the body of evidence ­substantiating the utility and value of e-Health solutions.


Knowledge Translation Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome International Development Research Centre Family Health Team 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Dr. Kendall Ho for support of the initial concept for this study and also Carolann Hodgson, Allison Smith and Janessa Green for their support performing searches and data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Sciences Centre University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of TeleHealthUniversity of KwaZulu NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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