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Emerging Health Issues

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As times change and the world advances, the health sector is obligated to move with the times and keep up with the technology. It has had both its positive and negative impacts on the sector making it difficult to keep up with technology and still maintain the high principles of the public health sector.

In the recent past, there has been concerns about the data collection methods from the public as the popularity and increase of cellular phones and the proliferate governments’ interest to conceal the confidentiality and privacy of their citizens information that pose long-lasting, extensive and possible detrimental effects on some facets of practice and research of the public health (Choi, 2006).

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Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI); the public health sector has for a long time depended on this to collect public health data. The voice-call interviewing method is a cost-effective mode of conducting surveys in which individuals can access a larger sample base quickly and efficiently. However, this research methodology is facing challenges from the growing popularity of cell phones, which ironically pose a threat to the data collection technique (McMichael & Butler, 2006). The increasing popularity of mobile phones is rapidly rendering the use of landlines obsolete, making households having mobile phones and possessing no landline telephones to be omitted from sampling. This creates a sample bias. Although random digit dialing (RDD) would eventually get to the cell phone users, the refusal rate would be high as most users tend to be on the go and would not be willing to pay for the incoming call charges.

The concerns about the privacy and covertness of personal health data may also influence information systems of the civic health as public health specialists and researchers need ingress to such classified information to identify risk factors and develop mitigation schemes for the good of the public. The growing cell phone use may mean an end to the CATI survey technology in public health information collection.

1. Choi, B. (2006). Emerging issues in public health information. Journal Of Epidemiology & Community Health, 60(9), 823-823. doi: 10.1136/jech.2005.039537

2. McMichael, A., & Butler, C. (2006). Emerging health issues: the widening challenge for population health promotion. Health Promotion International, 21(suppl_1), 15-24. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dal047

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