E-HEALTH’S POTENTIAL TO DELIVER BETTER HEALTHCARE
Regulatory frameworks aside, integrating new technologies into existing systems isn’t always easy. There can be numerous operational challenges to efficiently integrating them and behavioural challenges for patients and physicians learning to use them.
CLEARING TECHNOLOGY HURDLES
Hardware and software are, like everything, subject to failure, and potential failures are a huge hurdle for e-health. Crafting technology solutions with safeguards and built-in protections will reassure hospitals and healthcare professionals that the lives and well-being of patients will be protected. Improving system interoperability is also essential.
EMBRACING NEW WAYS OF WORKING
Change isn’t easy, particularly when it comes to sensitive subjects like health and healthcare. Easing people’s discomfort with new technology is a crucial step towards removing cultural barriers that prevent patients and physicians from adopting e-health solutions. The incentives for e-health are significant: recent research shows that adopting e-health and m-health solutions could save the EU €99 billion annually even after the cost of deploying the technology. That translates to an additional 24.5 million patients receiving treatment without increasing the number of doctors.
So how can healthcare systems, physicians and patients be convinced to embrace e-heath tools? Training, education programmes and awareness campaigns will go a long way towards changing the cultural norms that keep healthcare systems stuck in old, inefficient ways of operating.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers – Socio-economic impact of M-Health: an assessment for the European Union, 2013.
Spotlight on Prevention: When, Who and How?
Unhealthy lifestyles and lack of physical activity are key factors in the development of chronic diseases. Early prevention and diagnosis, better education, and above all collaboration among governments, patient organizations, and industry are crucial to prevent chronic diseases from arising.