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eHealth (also written e-health) is a relatively recent term for healthcare practice which is supported by electronic processes and communication. The term is inconsistently used: some would argue it is interchangeable with health care informatics, while others use it in the narrower sense of healthcare practice using the Internet. The term can encompass a range of services that are at the edge of medicine/healthcare and information technology:

  • Electronic Medical Records: enable easy communication of patient data between different healthcare professionals (GPs, specialists, care team, pharmacy)
  • Telemedicine: includes all types of physical and psychological measurements that do not require a patient to travel to a specialist. When this service works, patients need to travel less to a specialist or conversely the specialist has a larger catchment area.
  • Evidence Based Medicine: entails a system that provides information on appropriate treatment under certain patient conditions. A healthcare professional can look up whether his/her diagnosis is in line with scientific research. The advantage is that the data can be kept up-to-date.[citation needed]
  • Consumer Health Informatics (or citizen-oriented information provision): both healthy individuals and patients want to be informed on medical topics.
  • Health knowledge management (or specialist-oriented information provision): e.g. in an overview of latest medical journals, best practice guidelines or epidemiological tracking.
  • Virtual healthcare teams: consist of healthcare professionals who collaborate and share information on patients through digital equipment (for transmural care).


A seminal 2001 definition published in the article What is e-health? J Med Internet Res 2001;3(2):e20, by eHealth researcher Gunther Eysenbach is among the most frequently cited and reads:

e-health is an emerging field in the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies. In a broader sense, the term characterizes not only a technical development, but also a state-of-mind, a way of thinking, an attitude, and a commitment for networked, global thinking, to improve health care locally, regionally, and worldwide by using information and communication technology.

EU ICTs for Health: eHealth describes the application of information and communications technologies across the whole range of functions that affect the health sector, from the doctor to the hospital manager, via nurses, data processing specialists, social security administrators and - of course - the patients.

An article by Oh et al. (2005) attempted to examine all existing literature on the subject. Oh H, Rizo C, Enkin M, Jadad A. What Is eHealth (3): A Systematic Review of Published Definitions in the J Med Internet Res 2005;7(1):e1 article

See also

External links

de:E-Health it:E-health no:EHelse