Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What is eHealth?

eHealth (also written e-health) is a relatively recent term for healthcare practice which is supported by electronic processes and communication. The term is inconsistently used: some would argue it is interchangeable with health care informatics, while others use it in the narrower sense of healthcare practice using the Internet.

The term can encompass a range of services that are at the edge of medicine/healthcare and information technology:

o Electronic Medical Records: enable easy communication of patient data between different healthcare professionals (GPs, specialists, care team, pharmacy)

o Telemedicine: includes all types of physical and psychological measurements that do not require a patient to travel to a specialist. When this service works, patients need to travel less to a specialist or conversely the specialist has a larger catchment area.

o Evidence Based Medicine: entails a system that provides information on appropriate treatment under certain patient conditions. A healthcare professional can look up whether his/her diagnosis is in line with scientific research. The advantage is that the data can be kept up-to-date.[citation needed]

o Consumer Health Informatics (or citizen-oriented information provision): both healthy individuals and patients want to be informed on medical topics.

o Health knowledge management (or specialist-oriented information provision): e.g. in an overview of latest medical journals, best practice guidelines or epidemiological tracking.

o Virtual healthcare teams: consist of healthcare professionals who collaborate and share information on patients through digital equipment (for transmural care.)

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EHealth

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