What are e-Health Applications?

Adnan Raja
by (131 posts) under Healthcare IT
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  • What is e-Health?
  • Practical Uses
  • Examples: Broad Types
  • Example: e-Health Application Hosting Story
  • Writing Your Own Story

What is e-Health?

Electronic health, shortened to either e-health or eHealth, is the electronic form of healthcare. The concept electronic health is often used alongside electronic health records (EHRs), as indicated by the national health programs of Australia and Canada. This idea is often discussed in the public sector as a method to improve population health, while the same agencies limit applications with patient privacy and security safeguards (such as HIPAA Title II).

The first known use of e-health was in 1999. In November, John Mitchell gave a presentation at a professional conference in England – the International Congress on Telemedicine and Telecare – about public-sector research in Australia. At a time when the Internet and volume of digital data were small fractions of what they are now, and the hard copy was much more dominant, Mitchell’s argument was economic.

His basic message was that costs for both patients and providers would go down substantially to the extent that IT was integrated into healthcare. E-Health, said Mitchell, is “the combined use of electronic communication and information technology in the health sector… the use in the health sector of digital data – transmitted, stored and retrieved electronically – for clinical, educational and administrative purposes.”

Practical Uses

The World Health Organization describes three primary ways in which e- health is used:

  1. The systems are used to disperse healthcare information to patients and clinicians via the Web or local IT.
  2. They are used to make government health programs better, such as through online training of hospital staff.
  3. The technology is used by healthcare executives to improve the operation of the organization.

The WHO argued that e-health made healthcare more efficient, as well as easier to manage finances, data, and treatments. Furthermore, the Internet provides broader access to educational literature, and opens up the possibility for collaboration between various organizations and researchers (the latter of which has been accelerated incredibly by the rise of cloud computing).

Electronic health is more integrated and more obvious in the industrialized world. In the United States, Canada, and Australia, for instance, “[t]he reduced costs, the amount of information available and the speed of doing business on-line are creating a revolution in the way that business is conducted,” according to the WHO. In less developed countries, though, and among those who can’t afford devices, “[a]ccess to the required technology is an issue.”

Examples: Broad Types

According to the federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, examples of e-health applications include:

  • Internet forums and health-related social platforms
  • Internet-based literature related to healthcare
  • Web apps directly used by patients, producing patient-generated health data (PGHD)
  • Internet messages between patient and clinician
  • Electronic health record portals.

Some e-health systems are accessed on the public Internet, distributed across broad regions; while others are controlled, managed, and served internally. E-health really should be considered an umbrella term: it includes all electronically processed information that’s intended to bolster health.

Example: e-Health Application Hosting Story

Here are a few outtakes from a recent interaction we had – anonymized and edited for privacy – with one of our hosting clients. Essentially, I’ll highlight general questions and answers without going into all the technical specs or personal details.

Hosting Consultant:

How can we help you today?

Healthcare Client:

Looking for HIPAA compliant application hosting, can you quote me the price?

Hosting Consultant:

Can you please provide us with answers to the following questions so we can provide you with pricing?

1 ) Do you require a Linux- or Windows-based platform?

2 ) How many internal users will be accessing the hosting platform?

3 ) How much data storage space do you require, and are you encrypting the data
before it is stored?

4 ) Do you have separate web / app and database front ends?

I have attached a copy of our BAA and HIPAA Audit Certification for your
review.

Healthcare Client:

Please see my answers below.

1 ) We will be running the Magento Ecommerce application, so if it works with Linux,
that will be fine.

2 ) 5 to 6  users.

3 ) Initially about 200 documents per month and about 500 product records.

4 ) It will be the Magento Ecommerce platform.

Hosting Consultant:

Thank you for the information. Attached you will find the formal pricing
proposal for the HIPAA compliant hosting platform. All of the services that are
listed on the proposal are required in order to issue the Business
Associate Agreement.

I have also attached a few supporting documents:

1 ) Fully Managed Hardware Firewall

2 ) ( 6 ) Encrypted VPN’s

3 ) Intrusion Detection System

4 ) Fully Managed Daily Backup

Healthcare Client:

Thanks for that quote. Can you explain the business associate agreement?

And also what will be the month-to-month cost?

Hosting Consultant:

The Business Associate Agreement is the document that is signed
by both of us, stating that you are hosted in a HIPAA-compliant environment.
It is required that you have this document if you are audited by the federal
government. I have attached the Business Associate Agreement again for your review.

We do not provide HIPAA Hosting platforms based on a month-to-month
agreement. The pricing I quoted is based on a 12-month agreement, and
you would make the payment monthly (of $ XXX per month).

Healthcare Client:

Great, thank you! I will confer with my partners.

Writing Your Own Story

No one wants to end up with a huge fine or with their client’s name tacked onto the dreaded HIPAA Wall of Shame. However, you also want to take advantage of the fastest and most agile technologies.

Choose the SSAE-16 audited, HIPAA-certified e-health leader: Atlantic.Net’s HIPPA Compliant Servers offering 100% uptime.

By Moazzam Adnan


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