All the new implementations in eHealth comes with many issues that we need to take a serious look at. This post targets only a few of them and there are so many more facors to discuss.
In The eHealth and eSocial Strategy 2020 Räty et al. discuss the implementation of a nation-wide eHealth strategy. They mention the online platform of patient data that is available for health care professionals. and patients. Patient’s have the right to decide to what extent their data is stored there and the freedom to choose how, when and to what extent they want to take advantage of it all. This is empowerment, one of the factors that according to Eysenbach’s article defines eHealth. I believe that empowerment is something realistic to achieve. No doubt that having personal information circulating online comes along with safety issues. However, I want to believe that patients’ rights are something valuable and empowerment something people respect.
European Commission’s article mentions effective data protection as a vital factor for building trust as well as a key driver for a successfull cross-boarder development of eHealth. I believe that this safety issue might be one major reason why people don’t run straight into new interventions.
The idea of Human-Centered Design (HCD) approach is good and sure gives better results in many cases than technology -driven approach does (Niljand & Verhoeven 2013). The question is how good the implementation of stakeholders’ feedback in the actual product development is? Niljand and Verhoeven are talking about collecting data from users to evaluate the target group and be able to expand it. I’m sceptic about the effectiveness of this kind of methods. Many times the ones willing to participate in these kind of surveys are the ones already actively involved in the particular field of research. How is it possible to include passive users in these studies? By asking them to participate in a context outside eHealth?
European Commission. Page 9. eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020 – Innovative healthcare for the 21st century, Brussels, 6.12.2012 COM(2012) 736 final.
Eysenbach, G. 2001. What is e-health? Available: http://www.jmir.org/2001/2/e20/
Niljand, Nicol & Verhoeven, Fenne. 2013, Human-Centered Design in eHealth. In J.E.W.C. van Gemert-Pijnen; O. Peters; H.C. Ossebaard, Improving eHealth.
Räty, Laura; Huovinen, Susanna & Haatainen, Tuula. INFORMATION TO SUPPORT WELL-BEING AND SERVICE RENEWAL eHEALTH AND eSOCIAL STRATEGY 2020, Ministry of social affairs and health, local and regional government Finland.