eHealth (also written e-health) is a relatively recent term for healthcare practice which is supported by electronic processes and communication.
eHealth involves the use of modern, often web-based information and telecommunications technologies within and between health care institutions, professionals, patients and governmental organizations. The goal of ehealth is to improve the cooperation and coordination of healthcare, thereby improving the quality of care whilst at the same time reducing the cost of care. Examples of ehealth applications include (but are not limited to):
- Electronic Health Records: enable easy communication of patient data between different healthcare professionals (GPs, specialists, care team, pharmacy)
- Personal Health Records
- Chronic Disease Management
- Continuity of Care Records
- Electronic prescribing
- Electronic referral
- Transmural Care
- Telemedicine: includes all types of physical and psychological measurements that do not require a patient to travel to a specialist. When this service works, patients need to travel less to a specialist or conversely the specialist has a larger catchment area.
- Consumer Health Informatics (or citizen-oriented information provision): both healthy individuals and patients want to be informed on medical topics.
- Health knowledge management (or specialist-oriented information provision): e.g. in an overview of latest medical journals, best practice guidelines or epidemiological tracking. Examples include physician resources such as Medscape and MDLinx.
- Virtual healthcare teams: consist of healthcare professionals who collaborate and share information on patients through digital equipment (for transmural care).
- mHealth or m-Health: includes the use of mobile devices in collecting aggregate and patient level health data, providing healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients, real-time monitoring of patient vitals, and direct provision of care (via mobile telemedicine).
- Medical research uses eHealth Grids that provide powerful computing and data management capabilities to handle large amounts of heterogeneous data.
- Healthcare Information Systems: also often refer to software solutions for appointment scheduling, patient data management, work schedule management and other administrative tasks surrounding health. Whether these tasks are part of eHealth depends on the chosen definition, they do, however, interface with most eHealth implementations due to the complex relationship between administration and healthcare atHealth Care Providers.