Conservation of Information (COI): Geospatial and Operational Developments in E-Health and Telemedicine for Virtual and Rural Communities

Conservation of Information (COI): Geospatial and Operational Developments in E-Health and Telemedicine for Virtual and Rural Communities

Max E. Stachura (Medical College of Georgia, USA), Elena V. Astapova (Medical College of Georgia, USA), Hui-Lien Tung (Paine College, USA), Donald A. Sofge (Naval Research Laboratory, USA), James Grayson (Augusta State University, USA), Margo Bergman (Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, USA) and Joseph Wood (US Army, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-818-7.ch501
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Abstract

The authors review telemedicine and e-health from an organizational perspective. To evaluate their effectiveness, they review organizational and system theory along with field and laboratory results. Theory of the conservation of information (COI) provides the means to study tradeoffs across space and over time as telemedicine and e-health management make operational decisions for virtual communities users. With the authors’ three case studies, they evaluate COI for telemedicine and e-health networks operating in the state of Georgia. After analyzing the case studies with COI, the authors close with a review of future trends that includes an interaction rate equation, an agent-based model (ABM) using natural selection (machine learning), and a Monte Carlo simulation of return on investments (ROI).
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Background

Digital technologies are transforming many areas of human endeavor from commerce and entertainment to government and communications (Miller & West, 2006). Policymakers are emphasizing Information Technology (IT) for healthcare to improve service delivery, promote efficiency, educate consumers, and increase satisfaction. But other than gathering information from websites, few people are using IT to communicate online with health care personnel or to purchase medical services. This digital divide has impeded e-health’s acceptance. Less well educated, lower income individuals in rural areas use the web less often for health care than better educated, higher income urbanites. To gain the benefits of IT for healthcare, it needs to become more widespread and its benefits more evident to consumers of all types across the country.

Medical care depends on physicians to collect and process patient information (White, 2008). But increasing knowledge requirements for patients and doctors, the need to evaluate populations of patients whether treated or not, unmet healthcare expectations, the costliness of fragmented care, and the rising demand for chronic disease care challenge traditional healthcare models that refinements alone may not solve. Healthcare IT is the best option for future medical progress. According to Lucas (2008), IT includes computer-aided diagnosis and treatment monitoring; telemedicine; and IT to inform the public and physicians on health and healthcare. But incorrect beliefs about IT pose a deterrent to telemedicine. England and Stewart (2007) warn that even senior healthcare executives hold beliefs inimical to the increased adoption of IT in healthcare.

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