|DPU: INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 5 | Page : 58-61
E-health technologies: The future healthcare
Snehal Tare, Deepali Garge
Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth's Global Business School and Research Centre, Pune, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Web Publication||26-Feb-2020|
Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth's Global Business School and Research Centre, Survey No. 87/88, Mumbai-Pune Bypass Express Way, Tathawade, Pune - 411 033, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
E-Health is referred as electronic means of assisting healthcare services. It describes health initiatives that use digital platform for delivering healthcare data and information. It has several benefits like: It helps in paperless record management, gives fast access to patients' medical record, initiates easy collaboration between multiple departments in the hospitals, enhances efficiency of hospital and healthcare work, provides accurate information so less chances of error in the entire process of medical record maintenance, allows to book appointments for medical checkup, provides variable pricing list based on insurance policies and generates graphical reports. In the future, it is expected that the e-health technology will bring revolution in healthcare sector and it needs continuous improvement in developing information and communication technologies. Healthcare professionals will prefer automated systems as patients can also access the e-health data from healthcare service provider.
Keywords: E-Health, health services, healthcare, internet
|How to cite this article:|
Tare S, Garge D. E-health technologies: The future healthcare. J Dent Res Rev 2020;7, Suppl S2:58-61
Editor: Dr. Pradnya Kakodkar
| Introduction to E-Health|| |
E-Health is an emerging field in India. It delivers service to healthcare providers, hospitals, and insurance companies to deliver information through internet. Healthcare organizations are trying to think globally through networking. In earlier days, physicians were using traditional method for recording patients' medical information. They were using the hard files, laboratory records, papers, X-ray photographs, and prescription charts. As a result, it became very difficult for them to maintain huge data on paper charts. This is the reason that healthcare providers were in need of new technology which will help them to shift from complex work to simple data storing system. This is possible with the help of e-health technology. With the technical advancement, healthcare providers can store and share patients medical record.
E-Health is a short form of electronic health and it refers to the use of technology specifically internet within healthcare services. E-Health is referred as electronic means of assisting healthcare services. It describes health initiatives that use digital platform for delivering healthcare data and information.
In the 1960's, Dr. Lawrence Weed introduced the concept of e-health, termed as electronic health record (EHR) system. Regenstrief Institute first time used EHR for inpatient and outpatient data. The electronic medical record enabled physicians to provide quality care to patients and reduced medical errors as the past record of patient is also accessible through this system. Nowadays, the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer is increasing. Patients need frequent monitoring and regular follow-up of their medical records such as blood test reports and other diagnostics details. E-Health plays a significant role in this regard.
E-Health field is rapidly growing with new applications, devices, and services provided to healthcare. Some of the services are as follows:
- Online patients portal
- Secure text messaging
- Mobile clinical support services
- Patient education resources
- Clinical summary
- Online provider communities.
Advancement in technology has changed the working style. Healthcare sector is no exception as E-Health technology changing the healthcare service provided by professionals using digital health tools. Healthcare professionals can use text messages to offer appointment reminder, postvisit instructions, and other updates. It is really important to think strategically about the impact of e-health technology on healthcare services, quality of care, and patient satisfaction.
| Review of Literature|| |
E-Health technology includes software and services those are used to store, record, transmit, and manage information-related delivery of healthcare treatment and medical record keeping. Currie and Seddon stated that technology usage in healthcare services is increasing worldwide. G. Eysenbach stated that e-health used to characterize Internet medicine with the combination of computers and healthcare. According to Evers, e-health is playing an important role with the help of internet. He further stated that e-health will help in health promotion interventions as it makes healthcare services more affordable and effective. Lewis et al. reported that healthcare professionals and ordinary persons are using various websites for gaining healthcare information. E-Health gives easy access to interact with the patient and healthcare provider as it is independent of time and location. According to Xiao et al., currently, online health information has become an important source for persons' seeking health information. Sahu et al. reported that e-health technologies have enhanced health results for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension and cardiac diseases. Li et al. stated that implementation of EHR is a source for improving the healthcare treatment of the patients. They mentioned that e-health technology helps in bringing specialist healthcare to rural communities through the internet.
| Need of E-Health|| |
In the literature review, it was reported that the absence of adequate patient information and medical record adversely affects the cost and quality of healthcare compromising the patients care and safety. Information technology (IT) has been recommended as an essential tool to maintain healthcare record and solve the problems for providing quality healthcare. Physicians are always in need of accurate information of patient. EHR includes detail information about patient and medical treatment. According to Oyomno et al., e-health helps in advanced decision-making as it minimizes duplicate processes and reaction time. World Health Organization reported that e-health technology delivers new procedures for using health resources and improves effective use of these resources. According to Mannan et al., IT applications in healthcare will help to reduce healthcare cost and medical errors. E-Health can be used for electronic management of chronic diseases, barcoding of drugs, and decision support system.
| Importance of E-Health|| |
E-Health technology plays a significant role in providing healthcare services. Some of the benefits are as follows:
- It helps in paperless record management as patients' medical record is stored in a centralized database system. This avoids excessive use of papers
- It gives fast access to patients' medical record such as history of the patient, pathology and diagnostic reports, prescription, and billing data. Any information related to patient can be made available with few clicks
- It initiates easy collaboration between multiple departments in the hospitals as the same data can be viewed by various physicians and surgeons
- It enhances efficiency of hospital and healthcare work as e-health technology is automated and helps in fetching records which saves time and efforts of the staff
- E-Health technology provides accurate information so less chances of error in the entire process of medical record maintenance
- It allows to book appointments for medical checkup. It also allows prior booking of equipment which eliminates the chances of double booking
- It provides variable pricing list based on insurance policies, which makes billing process easy and less time-consuming
- It generates graphical reports from the patients' data and provides secure storage of medical records. It is user-friendly application with mobiles which is easy to navigate patient information.
Healthcare software is categorized on the basis of e-health information type. [Figure 1] gives idea about different categories of healthcare software, e-health records, and major healthcare software companies in India providing e-health software and system. [Figure 2] shows some of the e-health software, which is ranked best among e-health technology users.
According to Harrison and Lee, coordination among various healthcare services in an integrated healthcare system may enhance efficiency. They also mentioned that e-health technology will empower the healthcare professionals, patients, and other stakeholders to enhance their knowledge of disease processes and can improve health outcomes.
| Challenges for E-Health|| |
As the electronic data are transmitted over the network, it creates security concern. Hence, the major challenge in utilization of e-heath technologies is protection of medical record and its use in an ethical manner. Important challenge in e-health is maintaining confidentiality. Confidential information creates lot of problems as these are private data which are shared with the physicians, nursing, laboratory, and pharmacy staff. Apart from this, a major challenge is patient is not having enough trust on e-health-driven guidance as it may be unauthoritative, incomplete, or incorrect health information, which could have harmful effects on health. Hence, many of the patients avoid e-health treatment as they are afraid of disclosing their medical records. Mukharjee and Nath stated the leaking of health information of patient, medical identity theft, and healthcare insurance fraud create major concerns in using e-health technology. Paulson and Snyder discussed the strategies for creating successful healthcare information system. The e-health software developing company needs to understand and follow the guidelines given in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Health literacy is one of the major challenges as everyone who is involved in healthcare services needs to understand e-health information. Apart from this, providing training programs of healthcare staff to adapt to new e-healthcare software and communication equipment creates challenge for service providers with limited budget. Norman and Skinner have described the concept of e-literacy as the ability to seek, understand, and analyze healthcare-related information from electronic sources and apply the knowledge for solving the healthcare problems. They also provided health literacy model [Figure 3] which shows the multidisciplinary area in which e-health users require to gain knowledge.
| Barriers to E-Health|| |
According to Lasker et al., e-health has immense importance in the administration of healthcare services. It is very much useful for healthcare. Jones et al. revealed that there are some barriers to effective implementation of e-health technology in developmental countries.
- Lack of information and communication infrastructure
- Basic information communication technology knowledge and skills
- Resistance to new technology
- Financial and sustainability issues
- Privacy, security, data protection, and confidentiality.
| Future of E-Health Technology|| |
In the future, it is expected that the e-health technology will bring revolution in healthcare sector and it needs continuous improvement in developing information and communication technologies. Healthcare professionals will prefer automated systems as patients can also access the e-health data from healthcare service provider. In modern healthcare, it is anticipated that e-health will become key element in the infrastructure and healthcare organizations will need to develop the policies for use of e-health data security. Many hospitals are using biometric system which helps in keeping security of patients' data. In coming days, it will be commonly used in the hospitals for easy and secure access to patients' information. Training of employees and awareness among patients to use e-health technology will be demanding for the growth of e-health in developing countries.
| Conclusion|| |
The literature presented in this paper highlights the need and importance of e-health technology. The use of e-health technology is still gaining acceptance from healthcare providers and consumers. E-Health technology will help in improving the healthcare services which will support healthcare providers with more efficient use of medical records. Healthcare professionals in India need to adopt and use e-heath technology in practice. E-Health technology can only be utilized by investing in telecommunications equipment, supporting information technology, and developing e-health software. It is fact that physician will not get replaced by any digital tool, but it will help for communication and information between healthcare providers and patients. Healthcare sector needs to develop policies for use of e-health technologies for protection of patients' data. Better e-heath technology can be created by addressing major issues to facilitate improved quality healthcare in the future. The review on the e-health technology gives an idea to healthcare professionals and technology developers to consider major factors to promote e-heath technology usage worldwide. More research is needed on use and effects of e-heath technology for improving quality of healthcare services.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]