E-Health and Online Medical Transactions

E-Health and Online Medical Transactions

Alec Holt (University of Otago, New Zealand) and John D. Gillies (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Copyright: © 2002 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-21-1.ch017


Electronic medical consultation as a means of health delivery is available worldwide. While only in its infancy in New Zealand, it is likely to gain momentum and acceptance, and will impact on both the health deliverer and consumer. Adoption of electronic consultation has the capacity to radically change the environment of healthcare. Emergence of new business models and social impacts are just two of the areas where there could be significant change. As technology is embraced by commercial, health and other interests, we see law and governance left struggling to keep up with the changes. Will the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” widen or close? Has a beast been unleashed, or are we embarking into a brave new world where anyone can access the health information they need, regardless of socio-economic status, race or geographic situation? We discuss these questions with an emphasis on the New Zealand scene. In researching this chapter it seems that the positions about the future impact and appropriateness of telemedicine is polarized. At one pole are the “tele-evangilists” who think telemedicine will lead to a more patient-focused model. At the other pole are the “tele-luddites” who think that telemedicine introduces technology that complicates an already complex healthcare environment and will always come second to face-to-face interactions.

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