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- The title of this article should be eHealth. The initial letter is capitalized due to technical restrictions.
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 and a sub set of health 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:
- Electronic Health Records: enable easy communication of patient data between different healthcare professionals (GPs, specialists, care team, pharmacy)
- 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.
- Consumer Health Informatics (or citizen-oriented information provision): both healthy individuals and patients want to be informed on medical topics.
- Health knowledge management (or specialist-oriented information provision): e.g. in an overview of latest medical journals, best practice guidelines or epidemiological tracking. Examples include physician resources such as Medscape and MDLinx.
- Virtual healthcare teams: consist of healthcare professionals who collaborate and share information on patients through digital equipment (for transmural care).
- mHealth or m-Health: includes the use of mobile devices in collecting aggregate and patient level health data, providing healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients, real-time monitoring of patient vitals, and direct provision of care (via mobile telemedicine).
- Medical research uses eHealth Grids that provide powerful computing and data management capabilities to handle large amounts of heterogeneous data.
- Healthcare Information Systems: also often refer to software solutions for appointment scheduling, patient data management, work schedule management and other administrative tasks surrounding health. Whether these tasks are part of eHealth depends on the chosen definition, they do, however, interface with most eHealth implementations due to the complex relationship between administration and healthcare at Health Care Providers.
An article by Oh et al. (2005) attempted to examine all existing literature on the subject. Oh H, Rizo C, Enkin M, Jadad A. What Is eHealth (3): A Systematic Review of Published Definitions in the J Med Internet Res 2005;7(1):e1 article
A 2001 definition published in the article What is e-health? J Med Internet Res 2001;3(2):e20: is the following:
e-health is an emerging field in the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies. In a broader sense, the term characterizes not only a technical development, but also a state-of-mind, a way of thinking, an attitude, and a commitment for networked, global thinking, to improve health care locally, regionally, and worldwide by using information and communication technology.
- Google Health,
- Health on the Net Foundation
- Microsoft Health Vault,
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