Improving health care in the Internet age

Nov 02, 2010

Faster and more widely available internet access has improved our lives in many ways but healthcare is lagging behind, according to researchers writing in the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics.

The US team suggests that there is immense potential for the utilization of digitized (PHR) in chronic disease management. They have reviewed the state of the art in healthcare portals, assessed the standardization and the legality of health record s and point to a need to improve interoperability, which still represents a major obstacle to widespread adoption.

Chif Umejei and Daniel Wiafe of the Department of State University of New York, Brooklyn, explain that self-management of chronic disease, such as diabetes, , cancer and COPD () can improve patient health and reduce hospital visits. Disease management itself can be significantly improved by using current technological advancements such as the Internet and digitized personal health records. PHRs have been used to store patient clinical history but coupling their use to could make capable patients more active participants in their healthcare.

Currently, a PHR will contain the following information about a patient, which is usually accessible to and may also be available to caregivers and the patient themselves.

  • Identification sheet - registration form with contact and insurance details.
  • Problem list - the patient's significant illnesses and operations.
  • Medication record - Medicines prescribed and medication allergies.
  • History and physical - Major illnesses and surgery, significant family history, health habits, and current medications. Physician's findings on examination.
  • Progress notes - Notes made by the healthcare workers on observations and treatment plans.
  • Consultation - Healthcare worker opinions about health conditions.
  • Physician's orders - Directions to other healthcare workers regarding medication, tests, diet, and treatment.
Other entries might include X-ray and imaging reports, laboratory results, immunization record, consent forms and details of hospital visits.

For patients with a chronic disease, there is a need for continued patient education as well as ongoing documentation of symptoms, medication and side effects, the above summary of PHR opens up many possibilities for two-conversation between patient and healthcare workers. "With computer technology there is the opportunity to provide dynamic data communication and real-time patient education specifically at the point of care," the team says. The team's survey of healthcare workers and patients suggests that demand for a PHR portal-type system would be high, yet no current implementations fulfill the various demands.

A healthcare portal that utilizes PHRs would improve the dialogue between patient and healthcare worker and so could improve patient health overall, the team concludes. Such an "application provides an opportunity to facilitate communications as well as make the consumer an active part in the management of their care," the say.

Explore further: Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

More information: "A patient portal for chronic disease management" in Int. J. Medical Engineering and Informatics, 2010, 2, 395-407

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wireless health care for diabetes

Apr 01, 2010

Online communities could easily be used to offer people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes , wireless healthcare services via mobile phones and the internet. The approach, outlined in the International Journal of Ne ...

Healthcare worker diagnosed with TB

Apr 18, 2008

The New Mexico Department of Health is screening 250 people for tuberculosis after a healthcare worker was diagnosed with the disease.

Remote-control health

May 23, 2008

With search engine companies establishing online personal health records for their users and surgeons on the brink of making robotic surgery routine, it makes sense to have a remote medical care system that can support nursing ...

Recommended for you

Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

7 hours ago

Police and intelligence services are using image analysis and voice-recognition software, studying social media postings and seeking human tips as they scramble to identify the militant recorded on a video ...

Smartphone-loss anxiety disorder

8 hours ago

The smart phone has changed our behavior, sometimes for the better as we are now able to connect and engage with many more people than ever before, sometimes for the worse in that we may have become over-reliant on the connectivity ...

Why conspiracy theorists won't give up on MH17 and MH370

Aug 20, 2014

A huge criminal investigation is underway in the Netherlands, following the downing of flight MH17. Ten Dutch prosecutors and 200 policemen are involved in collecting evidence to present at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The inv ...

Here's how you find out who shot down MH17

Aug 20, 2014

More than a month has passed since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed with the loss of all 298 lives on board. But despite the disturbances at the crash site near the small town of Grabovo, near Donetsk ...

Assange talks of leaving embassy, sowing confusion

Aug 18, 2014

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sowed confusion Monday with an announcement that appeared to indicate he was leaving his embassy bolt hole, but his spokesman later clarified that that would not happen unless ...

User comments : 0