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Report on the e-health revolution

23rd May 2008

Social networking sites, part of the development of online services known as Web 2.0, will begin to change the way healthcare is delivered, a new report says.


New Web applications that resulted in sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia are now set to revolutionise e-health, according to a report entitled "Web 2.0 in the Health Sector: Industry Review with a UK perspective".

Applications are likely to evolve rapidly, based on social health networks and content generated by health service users themselves, the report predicted.

Such content might include reviews of doctors and hospitals and healthcare information, which is already the most widely researched topic by the general public online.

The application of Web 2.0 technologies is now driving far-reaching changes in healthcare systems in the developed world, it says, warning that those who ignore the deep trends of "e-health 2.0" risk missing the early stages of a social, economic and technological tectonic shift in healthcare planning and delivery.

The report, by the online health IT news service E-Health Insider, says that the key characteristic of e-health 2.0 is that it will be led by consumers.

Traditional doctor-patient relationships are already being challenge by online health information, which is putting far greater power in the hands of consumers. These changes are likely to be rapid and may prove highly disruptive, the report says.

The report, which has been welcomed for its accuracy and insights by Sir Muir Gray, Chief Knowledge Officer of the NHS, examines how participatory networked web 2.0 technologies – exemplified by Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia – are being applied to healthcare.

It says a wide range of applications have already been developed and are in use in health, with early signs of a groundswell of participation in the traditionally conservative sector.

But the key message was not just about social networking tools, blogs, video clips and suchlike, according to its author, Lindsey Birnsteel.

She said that sites like Patient Opinion in the UK were feeding back the views of the public directly into the NHS to drive service improvements.

The report profiles 20 e-Health 2.0 companies and organisations in the USA, UK and Germany, ranging from small start-ups to giants including Microsoft and NHS Choices, through the use of questionnaires and follow-up interviews.

Innovations included online communities for patients with specific conditions, tools for chronic disease management, sites that enable patients to rate the quality of care they receive, together with tools to enable clinicians to better search for and share research data.

The report calls on leaders from all areas of healthcare to be aware of the ways e-health 2.0 is beginning to redefine the practice and business of healthcare, so as to make the most of the opportunities created.

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Article Information

Title: Report on the e-health revolution
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 6859
Date Added: 23rd May 2008



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