The World Health Organization defines eHealth simply as “the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health”. Healthcare professionals will certainly not be replaced by technology any time soon, but the use of information technologies can help doctors in their daily work.
The goal of the eHealth is to ensure access to information about patient health at the right time and at the right place, and thus to ensure the continuity and quality of healthcare services for better health outcomes.
For example, eHealth systems allow:
- healthcare professionals to focus most of their attention on the patient rather than filling forms;
- patients to have reduced waiting times by enabling online registration;
- pharmacists to validate prescriptions and minimise the administrative paper trail burden by using ePrescription (eP) services.
In essence, eHealth introduces new ways of providing healthcare services that ease collaboration between different health care institutions and allow the sharing of crucial information, enabling new forms of interaction with patients.
At the core of this is the Electronic Health Record (EHR), which plays a key role by collecting care events and information from different health care providers in order to provide a single, unique EHR for each individual, accessible via interoperable EHR services.
eHealth solutions thus deliver a multitude of benefits, with the exchange of electronic documents saving time for healthcare specialists and patients, and avoiding the duplication of clinical procedures by creating, storing and sharing information. Accessible health data also helps innovation by allowing the analysis of health data, supporting disease prevention policies by flagging up future challenges. The system also promotes transparency, as the actions of health care participants are recorded and security checks deployed to ensure that relevant processes are adhered to.