E-Health Strategic Planning: Defining the E-Health Services' Portfolio

E-Health Strategic Planning: Defining the E-Health Services' Portfolio

Sara Carrasqueiro, Maria Helena Monteiro
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-670-4.ch021
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Nowadays there are a myriad of e-Health services. Due to their innovative character, these services often lack systematization raising difficulties when selecting, implementing or evaluating an e-Health service. The purpose of this chapter is introducing the reader to different types of e-Health services and to providing guidelines for the development of a strategic plan for e-Health. The authors present a list of sixteen e-Health services’ types discussing their main potentials, features and requirements and characterising them according to a multi-dimensional attributes model. This classification model groups e-Health services in order to perform case studies analysis and benchmarks between services inside each group. The attributes dimensions used are: interaction pair, type of interaction, main goals and measurement of impact and critical success factors. The authors also discuss the processes of planning, selecting, implementing and evaluating e-Health services, based on their perspectives and on a review of existing literature, identifying major problems and purposing guidelines.
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E-Health Definition: What Is E-Health?

The last two decades were characterized by a huge development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) particularly web technologies. This fact caused the most accelerated and comprehensive social and economic revolution ever seen: people and companies began to access web services and contents to improve knowledge and to establish interaction among each other. This new paradigm has been called Information Society, e-Society or Networked Society and is also related to Knowledge Society.

In the health environment this evolution also took place, although with a few years delay when compared to other industries. This delay in information technology adoption in the health sector has already been reported by other authors (England I., 2000).

There are several different definitions of e-Heath although all of them refer to the use of ICTs in the health sector. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) definition is:

E-Health is the combined use in the health sector of electronic communications and information technology (digital data transmitted, stored and retrieved electronically) for clinical, education and administrative purposes, both at the local side and at a distance (World Health Organization, 2008-1).

This is a wide definition, and hence e-Health encompasses several concepts that have also been used in this field, as shown in figure 1.

Figure 1.

Common concepts included in e-health


Key Terms in this Chapter

Critical Success Factors: Elements from business, social and organizational environment that are fundamental for a strategy to be successful.

Diffusion: The process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social group or system.

Change Management: A structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a present state to a desired future state.

Innovation: An idea, practice or object that is perceived as new by an individual, a group or an organization. There are several types of innovation and each innovation must be managed in a specific way.

E-Health Service: An application or functionality based on information and telecommunication technologies provided by an actor to another (usually through Internet technologies) in order for the client (or user) to be able to use it to fulfil a health act (clinical, administrative or educative).

E-Health Services’ Portfolio: A collection of e-Health services provided or retrieved by an Organization in order to support its activity and strategy. The definition of the Organization e-Health services’ portfolio is part of the e-Health strategic planning process.

E-Health Services’ Type: A set of similar e-Health services aggregated by common attributes; this chapter defined sixteen different types of e-Health services characterised according to multiple attributes which are organized in four dimensions.

E-Health Solution: A set of resources (human, organizational, informational and technical) implemented in order to enable the provision of one or more e-Health services, within a certain context or Healthcare System.

Project Management: A structured (adaptive) approach to help the organizations to define, plan and conduct their projects on time and within budget and requirements, in spite of the uncertainties of the social and organizational environments, such as: changing policies; attitudes of the stakeholders; emerging technology; novelty; complexity; etc.

E-Health Strategic Planning: A structured approach to develop and approve a set of plans of integrated projects to create and implement e-health solutions.

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