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Consumer e-Health: An Overview of Research Evidence and Implications for Future Policy

  • Year: 2011
  • Author: Hordern, Antonia; Georgiou, Andrew; Whetton, Sue; Prgomet, Mirela
  • Journal Name: Health Information Management Journal
  • Journal Number: Vol. 40, No. 2
  • Country: Australia

Consumer e-health is rapidly becoming a fundamental component of healthcare. However, to date only provisional steps have been taken to increase our understanding of how consumers engage with e-health. This study, an interpretive review, assessed the evidence about consumer use of e-health and identified five categories that encompass consumer e-health: (i) peer-to-peer online support groups; (ii) selfmanagement/ self-monitoring applications; (iii) decision aids; (iv) the personal health record; and (v) Internet use. Our findings reveal that e-health offers consumers many possibilities and potential benefits, although there appears to be apprehension concerning the efficacy of some interventions and barriers relating to the trustworthiness of Internet-acquired information. It is imperative that policy initiatives address these issues to ensure that consumer e-health services can be effectively, efficiently, and safely accessed.

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