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: Shopping 'mega-jams' have brought cities to a halt for decades

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

Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

Dec 19, 2014

The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI's ...

Study reveals mature motorists worse at texting and driving

Dec 18, 2014

A Wayne State University interdisciplinary research team in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has made a surprising discovery: older, more mature motorists—who typically are better drivers in ...

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

LA mayor plans 7,000 police body cameras in 2015

Dec 16, 2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan Tuesday to equip 7,000 Los Angeles police officers with on-body cameras by next summer, making LA's police department the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.