New E-book on “Making E-Health Work” released

Apr 23, 2006

E-Health has become an integral part of present-day healthcare delivery. With healthcare consumers, increasingly the focus of most health systems, the widespread implementation of health information and communications technologies offers cost-effective opportunities to meet their increasingly sophisticated healthcare needs. These technologies no doubt provide the enabling environment for cost-saving healthcare initiatives to work. They also promote creativity and innovation in both the development of novel yet effective healthcare services and the emerging technologies to actualize them. However, despite these and other significant benefits, the adoption of health information technologies seems excruciatingly slow even in the developed world, in particular among healthcare professionals, and other healthcare stakeholders at large. The exploration of the interplay of factors hampering the pervasive deployment and utilization of these technologies constitutes a key subject of this e-book, which also analyzes the options that healthcare providers from the primary to the tertiary care levels, governments, companies, and other healthcare stakeholders could consider in countering these factors. Escalating healthcare costs are of major concern for even developed countries, and which many of them seek effective ways to curb. However, these countries also must deliver qualitative health services to their peoples. The quest to achieve both objectives has led to the emergence of novel health reform approaches, including the consumer-driven healthcare model, with patients empowered to be more discerning, hence to participate more effectively and prudently in their choice of healthcare providers, treatment and in matters relating to their health in general. That the healthcare consumer needs relevant, accurate, and current information in order to be able to make rational choices regarding health promotion, disease prevention, and treatment options is not in doubt, nor is it that healthcare ICT could play a crucial role, in achieving these goals. The complex and interwoven issues that operate at the virtual interface of the healthcare consumer needs vis-à-vis health ICT deployment, fostering or hindering the widespread diffusion of the latter, hence the chances of the benefits thereof accruing to the former, or otherwise, also constitute the subject of this e-book. The author critically examines issues in a variety of domains crucial to healthcare ICT assisting in the achievement by governments, and payers in the health systems of the dual objectives of qualitative healthcare provision and simultaneous healthcare costs reduction. The e-book also discusses what healthcare organizations need to do to achieve these dual goals, particularly in the prevailing dispensation of perennially limited budgets, the funding model of the health systems in which they operate notwithstanding. By exploring these various issues in-depth, this e-book attempts to not only highlight the significance of healthcare ICT in contemporary healthcare delivery, but also some of the issues germane to moving any e-Health program forward. This e-book would interest the public, policymakers, healthcare professionals, health advocacy groups, hospital CEOs and other staff, the media, government agencies, health insurance companies, industry analysts and leaders, and other healthcare stakeholders.