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Consumer health informatics

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Consumer health informatics is a relatively new discipline and has been defined by Eysenbach as follows:

Consumer health informatics is the branch of medical informatics that analyses consumers’ needs for information; studies and implements methods of making information accessible to consumers; and models and integrates consumers’ preferences into medical information systems. (Eysenbach 2000)

Benefits Edit

Consumer health informatics (CHI) provides patients and healthy consumers with the tools, skills and support they need to better manage their health decisions. Examples for CHI tools are Web sites providing self-care information, Internet-based disease management tools, telemedicine, personal health records (PHRs), online support groups, etc. In the age of the Internet, almost any health information system or communication tool has an interface for consumers.

Healthcare providers are turning to consumer health informatics to provide patients not only with health advice but with an opportunity to manage certain aspects of their condition. One of the purposes of the aforementionned PHR is to involve patients in the management of their healthcare. Meanwhile, consumers are themselves looking for resources on the Internet or even starting their own.

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