eHealth as a facilitator of equitable access to primary healthcare: the case of caring for non-communicable diseases in rural and refugee settings in Lebanon

Shadi Saleh, Mohamad Alameddine, Angie Farah, Nour El Arnaout, Hani Dimassi, Carles Muntaner, Christo El Morr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Assess the effect of selected low-cost eHealth tools on diabetes/hypertension detection and referrals rates in rural settings and refugee camps in Lebanon and explore the barriers to showing-up to scheduled appointments at Primary Healthcare Centers (PHC). Methods: Community-based screening for diabetes and hypertension was conducted in five rural and three refugee camp PHCs using an eHealth netbook application. Remote referrals were generated based on pre-set criteria. A phone survey was subsequently conducted to assess the rate and causes of no-shows to scheduled appointments. Associations between the independent variables and the outcome of referrals were then tested. Results: Among 3481 screened individuals, diabetes, hypertension, and comorbidity were detected in 184,356 and 113 per 1000 individuals, respectively. 37.1% of referred individuals reported not showing-up to scheduled appointments, owing to feeling better/symptoms resolved (36.9%) and having another obligation (26.1%). The knowledge of referral reasons and the employment status were significantly associated with appointment show-ups. Conclusions: Low-cost eHealth netbook application was deemed effective in identifying new cases of NCDs and establishing appropriate referrals in underserved communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Mar 15
Externally publishedYes



  • Appointment no-show
  • Diabetes
  • eHealth
  • Hypertension
  • Primary healthcare
  • Referrals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this