Review Article

A review of teleradiology in Africa – Towards mobile teleradiology in Nigeria

Mohammed Y. Tahir, Maurice Mars, Richard E. Scott
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 26, No 1 | a2257 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v26i1.2257 | © 2022 Mohammed Y. Tahir, Maurice Mars, Richard E Scott | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 July 2021 | Published: 11 January 2022

About the author(s)

Mohammed Y. Tahir, Department of TeleHealth, College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, Medical Imaging Informatics ISID, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Maurice Mars, Department of TeleHealth, College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Richard E. Scott, Department of TeleHealth, College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada


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Abstract

eHealth is promoted as a means to strengthen health systems and facilitate universal health coverage. Sub-components (e.g. telehealth, telemedicine, mhealth) are seen as mitigators of healthcare provider shortages and poor rural and remote access. Teleradiology (including mobile teleradiology), widespread in developed nations, is uncommon in developing nations. Decision- and policy-makers require evidence to inform their decisions regarding implementation of mobile teleradiology in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan countries. To gather evidence, Scopus and PubMed were searched using defined search strings (September 2020). Duplicates were removed, and titles and abstracts reviewed using specified selection criteria. Full-text papers of selected resources were retrieved and reviewed against the criteria. Insight from included studies was charted for eight a priori categories of information: needs assessment, implementation, connectivity, evaluation, costing, image display, image capture and concordance. Fifty-seven articles were identified, duplicates removed and titles and abstracts of remaining articles reviewed against study criteria. Twenty-six papers remained. After review of full-texts, ten met the study criteria. These were summarised, and key insights for the eight categories were charted. Few papers have been published on teleradiology in sub-Saharan Africa. Teleradiology, including mobile teleradiology, is feasible in sub-Saharan Africa for routine X-ray support of patients and healthcare providers in rural and remote locations. Former technical issues (image quality, transmission speed, image compression) have been largely obviated through the high-speed, high-resolution digital imaging and network transmission capabilities of contemporary smartphones and mobile networks, where accessible. Comprehensive studies within the region are needed to guide the widespread introduction of mobile teleradiology.

Keywords

teleradiology; mobile teleradiology; cellphone; Nigeria; developing country

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