Almost every aspect of life is touched by internet. Internet sector has also influenced the health sector. Currently the use internet in health sector is very general. Health sectors has always showed increasing trend in growth. The most common uses are keeping electronic medical records, transmission of information and tele medicine.
Nowadays the consumers are more aware of their health. They are demanding high quality health care. Hospitals, clinics and other health care providers have to deal with consumer expectation in most efficient manner which is possible only with the use of technology specifically internet. Use of internet can be done in two ways in health care industry, which are:-
- Tele medicine– it includes use of internet to provide clinical healthcare distantly. It helps in eliminating distance barriers and improved access to medical services. Recent developments in mobile collaboration technology allow the health care professionals in different occasions to share information and discuss patient issues. Remote patient monitoring system produces the need for outpatient visits and enables remote prescription, verification and drug administration, which ultimately reduces the cost of medical care. It also facilitates medical education by observing experts in field.
- Remote diagnostics– it is a process of diagnosing a given symptoms, issues or problems with the use of internet. Many real time medical applications have been launched to provide easy exchange of information between the patient and expert.
Positive Impact Of Internet On Health Sector
With the use of internet, businesses and health care providers have an edge over the other competitors. The ability to monitor the patient progress and overall health status and alerts, drugs prescribed by them, specialist referrals, and a consumer access to a clinical advice, diagnosis test results and adverse reaction are the few impacts of internet on health care.
Efficient use of resources will enable the hospital staff and health care professionals to monitor treatment protocols and communicate complications and patient’s status. It helps in delivering better care at reduced cost and overall customer satisfaction.
Health care providers are working more efficiently than those who are using out dated paper based system. Doctors are able to view the electronic health record of patients to know the patient’s full diagnosis and give correct treatment accordingly. With the use of internet, traditional paper based system will be negligible. More decision support system has been developed these days like CDSS (clinical decision support system) and CPOE (computerized physician order entry). These systems offer considerable advantage over simple computerized order entry system.
- Identifying technology like bar codes and accompanying scanners.
- Radio frequency identification technology allows positive tracking of drugs.
- Entry technologies, which are represented by computerized physician, order entry system to avoid medication errors caused by illegibility and other recording mistakes.
Negative Impacts Of Internet On Health Sector
One the biggest disadvantage is that many people are internet illiterate who are not able to derive the benefits of e health. Inadequate or irrelevant information can affect the health of patient. Consumer / patient may find difficulties in searching. Appropriate information may not be located. Consumer / patient may not be able to choose correct remedy due to availability of overloaded health information. Technical language used may be a barrier because it is difficult to interpret by masses. Unclear legal regulation and slow internet connection etc may be another problem. Resistant to shift to e health may be seen in senior citizens etc.
E health industry need great attention as it has vast potential to grow. It has shown tremendous increase in last few years and will continue to grow if the needs and preferences of this segment are given high importance. Social media, government, guides, tourists, travel and tour companies must take a responsibility of playing a greater role in promoting e health. Road shows can be conducted to sensitize the general public regarding the increasing use of internet in health sector and correct use of it. The health care providers must update the information on regular basis to avoid any inconvenience for the users. Developing countries and emerging economies can take the benefit of technology by having an access to valuable medical information and services. Much more need to be done to improve this sector.