Closing the Gap: E-Health and Optimization of Patient Care

Closing the Gap: E-Health and Optimization of Patient Care

Malina Jordanova (Solar-Terrestrial Influences Institute, Bulgaria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-733-6.ch003
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Abstract

Brought to life by contemporary changes of our world, e-health offers enormous possibilities. In the World Health Organization’s World Health Assembly resolution on e-health, WHO has defined e-health as the cost-effective and secure use of information and communication technologies in support of health and health-related fields, including healthcare services, health surveillance, health literature, and health education (WHO, 2005). It is impossible to have a detailed view of its potential as e-health affects the entire health sector and is a viable tool to provide routine, as well as specialized, health services. It is able to improve both the access to, and the standard of, health care. The aim of the chapter is to focus on how e-health can help in closing one gap - optimizing patient care. The examples included and references provided are ready to be introduced in practice immediately. Special attention is dedicated to cost effectiveness of e-health applications.
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Introduction

Over the past decade the interest in e-health has risen very quickly. E-health is the application and extensive use of information and communication technology in all areas of health care, from delivery of professional care to patients to the life-long education of citizens and medical professionals. In the World Health Assembly resolution on e-health in 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined e-health as the cost-effective and secure use of information and communication technologies in support of health and health-related fields, including healthcare services, health surveillance, health literature, and health education (WHO, 2005). Despite the fact that almost all recognize the WHO as a world leading authority, responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, setting norms and standards, etc., and all its members respect its decisions, the term e-health in not accepted worldwide. Thus, before we begin it is necessary to clarify the confusion in terminology.

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