Impact of IDM on Healthcare

Impact of IDM on Healthcare

Lena Stephanie (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), Thomas Srinivasan (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) and Apurva Deepak Lawale (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-147-4.ch022


This chapter discusses the impact of interactive digital media (IDM) on the healthcare industry. An overview of the e-health marketplace and business models is provided through a blended approach utilizing two conceptual frameworks, namely ADVISOR and Value Net. Significant macro-environmental forces impacting e-health initiatives are identified through PESTLE analysis for the reason that it is crucial for an e-health firm’s business model success and sustainability, to strategize and align itself favorably with these powerful forces of change.
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“E-revolution” has transformed the conventional landscape of business and consumerism, as is evident through the successful take-offs of various e-initiatives over the last couple of decades. Today, the Internet has become entwined with most aspects of our day-to-day living, facilitating communication, entertainment, education, banking and a host of ecommerce transactions online. The power of the Internet is so vast that its use has become pervasive and routined in only about 7 years. Comparatively, television took about 26 years to achieve a similar mass penetration among consumers in the US (Chin, 2000).

Despite the Internet having revolutionized most walks of our lives, its foray into healthcare has been relatively tardy (Hill & Powell, 2009). Healthcare is a late arrival to e-commerce, although most analysts agree that the long-term potential for online health is still enormous (Dyer & Thompson, 2001). An estimated 18.3 million US adults purchasing health-related products online in 2006, and the rise in the US population looking for health information online from 10 million in 2000 to 100 million in early 20071, are testimony to healthcare consumers’ insatiable need for easier and greater access to health information and services (Wen & Tan, 2003). Coupled with this is the policy imperative of various governments to reform healthcare through sizable investments in health information technology (HIT) to accelerate improvements in healthcare, (c.f. Clancy et al., 2009). Such healthcare trends are not just confined to the US, but are gaining traction globally, as can be evidenced by the plethora of e-health or telehealth or telemedicine projects that have stemmed worldwide in the recent years2.

E-health, which is the integration of telehealth3 or telemedicine technologies with the Internet, is deemed to improve efficiencies, develop new markets, reduce costs, and enhance the quality and value of health services delivery (Wen & Tan, 2003). “E-health is an emerging field in the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies” and “encompasses more than just “Internet and Medicine”” (Eysenbach, 2001, p 20). E-health comes with the promise of improved quality of care, reduced costs, reduced medical errors, increased efficiency of information flow and most importantly, empowerment of healthcare consumers in their healthcare decisions.

In this paper, we will attempt to (1) understand the evolving e-health ecosystem, and (2) analyze the impacts of the macro-environment on this “disruptive innovation”, which is set to revolutionize the way healthcare will be provided and consumed. To achieve these objectives, our research will focus on the following research questions:

  • 1.

    What is the current status of the e-health ecosystem?

  • 2.

    What are the impacts of the macro-environmental forces on e-health and their significance?

Finally, in our Conclusion, we will discuss the prospects of e-health gaining acceptance and becoming a way of life eventually.

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