Advances in information and communication technologies are leading to important changes in the management of personal health care and practice of health care services. Given the challenges in health care services provision, such as time limitations in health care consultations, a number of studies suggested that the importance of Internet technology in dissemination of health knowledge will increase for the computer connected patients who are not digitally marginalized. In addition, access to health and medical information on the Internet is accompanied by shifting patient attitudes in regards to managing personal care and is changing dynamics of patient and clinician interactions. Some researchers even suggested that a cultural shift has been taking place and access to medical information by lay public is crucial to promote personal health. This combination of professional resources (health care providers) with internet based technological resources (medical web sites, virtual discussion communities, and email communications) helps patients to be informed health care consumers who can take participatory roles as partners with clinicians. Accordingly, we may expect that health care professionals will increasingly need to help their patients to understand and evaluate health information obtained from internet resources and discuss the information with them. This paper will also present patients’ own perspectives regarding the incorporation of the Internet technology into personal health care management. Discussions about the impact of technology on patients’ medical outcomes and implications for health care services sector will conclude the paper.
|Keywords:||E-health, Internet, Email, Virtual Health Discussion and Support Groups, Health Care Management, Patient, Physician|
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore County, USA
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