Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Access to health care providers is not only necessary in the U.S.A. but a necessity for many nations of the world. Access to affordable, effective health care continues to be a major concern for people around the world. But governments that adopt eHealth policies can find ways to use communication and technology advancements to help ensure more people receive better healthcare. Here, we look at government strides in adopting eHealth, the barriers to maximizing eHealth’s full potential, and what some countries have learned along the way. What is eHealth? Electronic health, or eHealth, represents information and communication technologies used by the health sector. These include electronic patient records, remote patient medical care through telemonitoring, and connecting with health practitioners over the phone through telehealth. How did it Start? The Internet There are concerns about the quality of health info patients can access, yet doctors are now realizing the Internet can assist them with their jobs. Patients’ access to internet searches increased their information, which changed their relationship with doctors and created a shift in the patient-provider dynamic. How Widespread is eHealth? A 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) survey revealed 160 WHO member countries have some form of universal health coverage, and 74% of these countries mention eHealth as a component. 153 countries have legislation protecting a person’s privacy data relating to their electronic health record, and 134 countries have a national eHealth strategy or policy. The survey also found that nearly 80% of healthcare organizations in WHO member states use social media to distribute their health messages. Additionally, the survey pinpointed telepsychiatry as the telehealth service that increased the most between 2009 and 2015. How eHealth Can Help Health care systems the world over are facing rising costs, system inefficiencies, access issues, and quality issues. However, these pressures are some of the issues eHealth initiatives aim to solve. These initiatives strive for this goal through many ways. Digitizing personal health information helps build more complete histories. The creation of electronic health records can also make it easy to share patient data between systems. eHealth can also empower patients with their own electronic records and can also be used to implement various telehealth and home health options to improve chronic disease management. The process of adopting eHealth initiatives is not without its core challenges. These include insufficient communication of eHealth goals, concerns regarding system standardization, and a current lack of governance and funding. WHO has also tied the implementation of eHealth to a goal of achieving universal health coverage in remote and underserved communities. However, this takes a lot of work. Some of the Challenges Facing Specific Types of eHealth Telehealth Telehealth uses information and communication technologies to provide advice and reminders, handle remote admissions, and remotely monitor patients directly and remotely. It allows specialists to see more patients, and it makes it easier for remote patients to get services. It can also help cut costs linked to hospital visits and can lower the number of patients that need emergency transfers. There are several challenges to implementing telehealth. These include insufficient system development funding, inadequate equipment and internet-related infrastructure, a lack of synchronicity between health system priorities, and a lack of regulatory guidance.