Inventing the Future of E-Health

Inventing the Future of E-Health

José Aurelio Medina-Garrido (Cadiz University, Spain) and María José Crisóstomo-Acevedo (Jerez Hospital, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-988-5.ch001
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Abstract

E-health involves the use of information and communications technologies to improve health in general and the healthcare system in particular (Alvarez, 2002; Chau & Hu, 2004; Roger & Pendharkar, 2000). Healthcare, one of the largest industries in the world, suffers from some inefficiencies and inequities in both service provision and quality. Some of these problems are due to the poor management of the information flows (Kirsch, 2002). In this respect, there are business opportunities for e-health. But to understand what the future holds for e-health, we need to find a precise definition of the concept and identify the possible sources of business. This article is structured as follows. The second section, the background, defines the concept of e-health. The third section outlines some of the business opportunities in the area of e-health based on the communications platform that is the Internet, and discusses some practical guidelines for e-health businesses to create value. The fourth section discusses the low level of adoption of e-health at present, as well as the future trends, in which e-health will presumably grow. e-health is also expected to be used to reduce the disparities in the population in access to healthcare, and for the treatment of the chronically ill. The fifth section is dedicated to the final conclusions.

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