Digital Divide and E-Health Implications for E-Collaboration Research

Digital Divide and E-Health Implications for E-Collaboration Research

Michele Masucci (Temple University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-050-9.ch120
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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. The emerging field of e-collaboration focuses attention on the need for society to critically examine how electronic communication technologies facilitate, shape, and transform the ways in which organizations, groups, and communities interact. There are many works that explain how to (a) develop e-health systems, (b) assess the use of such systems, and (c) analyze the health outcomes that can be achieved with effective e-health applications (Brodie et al., 2000; Eder, 2000; Spil & Schuring, 2006). Less attention has been paid to how advances in e-collaboration research might inform e-health applications development and scholarly discourse. Because of this gap in the literature, few discussions pertain to understanding patient perspectives about the advantages and disadvantages that may result from rapidly emerging interconnections among access to health care, health information, health support systems, and ICTs (Berland et al., 2001; Hesse et al., 2005; Gibbons, 2005; Gilbert & Masucci, 2006).

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