E-health has rapidly gained attention as a framework for understanding the relationship between using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote individual and community health, and using ICTs for improving the management of health care delivery systems. The use of e-collaborative tools is implicit to the delivery and access of e-health. Development of the capacity to transmit and receive digital diagnostic images, use video telecommunications for supporting the remote delivery of specialized care and surgical procedures, and the use of e-communication technologies to support logistical elements of medical care (such as scheduling appointments, filling prescriptions, and responding to patient questions) are just a few ways in which e-communications are transforming how medical care is embedded within institutional, organizational, family, and community settings.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Internet Telemedicine: The use of Web interfaces for accessing and delivering telemedicine services.
E-Health Ethics: Also referred to as Health Internet Ethics (Hi-Ethics), considerations to ensure the equitable distribution of health benefits for individuals and families through using e-health to disseminate health services. Concerns include protecting information privacy, ensuring that current, reliable health information, and advice is shared using e-health approaches, and that access to services is available to all.
Technological Literacy: The knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy required to critically engage advancements in technologies and technological influences on daily life.
Digital Divide: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration developed a report series (NTIA, 1995, 1998, 1999a and b, 2000, 2002, and 20042004) that conducted an analysis of the ownership and use of computers by households in the U.S. The reports indicated that disparities between the households with the highest and lowest degrees of computer use and Internet access were related to income, race, and gender. The reports called the disparities a “digital divide.”
E-Health: The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to support individual and community health through creating health management information systems, electronic scheduling systems, electronic prescription services, transmittal of health records and diagnostic imagery among providers, and the remote delivery of care and consultations.
Telemedicine: The delivery of medical care between settings that are geographically separate through the use of telecommunication systems, including traditional telephone systems and electronic communication systems.
HIPAA: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act created standards for regulating the transactional records related to the delivery of electronic health care. This involved creating national identifiers for health care providers, insurance plans, and places of employment. HIPAA requirements also exist to protect the privacy and security of health information.