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The role of information technology in designs of healthcare trade

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  • Ajeet Mathur

    (Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations)

Abstract

Information Technology (IT) is poised to revolutionise healthcare trade through new thresholds in human connectivity. This paper focuses on the expanding role of IT in three distinct but related categories: (a) design and development of healthcare products and services, (b) delivery systems, and, (c) healthcare administration. Through information power that IT enables, capacities of decision-makers are continually transformed in how they link with each other, in the here and now. This not only promotes conventional trade in services and e-commerce and facilitates worldwide convergence in several aspects of healthcare management and organisation. However, this process also raises fears and anxieties because the pervasive nature of IT and its uneven diffusion increase some vulnerabilities where policy safeguards would be needed. The process of IT diffusion occurs at many different points of impact in the international economy. Thus, policy choices have to cater to a wide range of national and regional needs and circumstances concerning rights to health, rights to trade and rights to development. National policies and international regimes need to strike a harmonious balance between these sets of rights. The persistence of unresolved conflicts of rights and conflicts of interests point to the need for new international arrangements to be mandated and resourced. The extent to which this can be achieved is uncertain. This uncertainty is traceable to the ways responsibility for healthcare, authority to design healthcare products and systems, and the power to organise healthcare delivery remain separate or come together. The restructuring of private investments to integrate IT with life sciences in public-private partnerships is a sign of the growing significance of IT in healthcare. It is also a reminder of how powerfully IT could be harnessed in pursuit of millenium development goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Ajeet Mathur, 2003. "The role of information technology in designs of healthcare trade," Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi Working Papers 111, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:icrier:111
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    1. Reynolds, Lloyd G, 1983. "The Spread of Economic Growth to the Third World: 1850-1980," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 941-980, September.
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