However, as the article points out, there is a need for other criteria that may be more practical to define eHealth applications: criteria based on the type of use and user involvement, and more generally on the context in which a certain application it is used.
Examples of Common Terminology
We present below some of the terminology most commonly used by information bodies, in order to clarify its meaning and illustrate the major (known) branches of the eHealth sector. The criterion used (pragmatically) is that of the diffusion of specific cases in the market.
In order not of importance, the main technological areas of eHealth are:
Telemedicine (tele-diagnostics, tele-assistance, teleconsultation, tele-surgery, etc.)
Online health information (on the web, social media, etc.)Electronic health record, e-Prescription, etc.Remote assistance and support for emergency situations (i.e. digital technologies for personal wellbeing and prevention)
Mobile, portable and wearable devices (m-health)
e-Patient (ie the informed participation of the patient, cornerstone of the Health 2.0 movement, also described with the expression “expert patient”, to indicate patients who manage their long-term health conditions, for example by inquiring on the Internet)
Advanced medical and prosthetic roboticsAdvanced diagnostics assisted by artificial intelligence and Big Data algorithmsDigital medicines or digital pills (which combine drugs with built-in micro-sensors)Digital Therapeutics (or DTx, in English)Others to come …
These important technological areas (which we often hear about) also serve as a “definition by enumeration” of the umbrella term “e-health” which is constantly evolving and therefore it is difficult, if not impossible, to define succinctly but completely, as discussed. previously.
An emerging sector of very strong interest for national health systems is that of digital therapies. To better understand what they are and how they can be useful to doctors and patients, the reader can refer to the Appendix: What Are Digital Therapies (DTx)?
Telemedicine | TelemedicineWhat Benefits Does eHealth Bring?
- EHealth aims to achieve these key objectives:
- Greater informed patient participation
- Improvement of personal well-being
- Prevention of serious medical conditions
Support for the management of chronic diseasesGreater efficiency and quality of care (greater accuracy of diagnoses, greater accuracy of medical procedures, etc.)
Reduction of the economic cost of careReduction of the human cost of pathologiesAdoption and objectives of eHealtheHealth in the European Union
The European Union defines eHealth as the union of digital health and digital care:
“Digital health and care is the collective term used to refer to tools and services that use information and communication technologies (ICTs) that can improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management of health and lifestyle.”
Therefore, for the EU, eHealth is the set of digital tools and services at the service of health and medical care that use information and telecommunication technologies (ICT) to improve activities such as prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, as well as health and lifestyle monitoring and management.