Global Issues in Consumer Health Informatics

Date: April 23, 2003 Time: (All day)
Event Type: Lecture

The Internet, wireless networks, broadband, portable/wearable/implanted devices and many other technological developments are promising a radical positive change in the way in which consumers view their own health and the health system, as well as how they interact with health professionals and participate in health-related decisions. During the past 10 years, however, we have witnessed how these impressive technological developments have led to a hyper-production and hyper-distribution of information, which have clearly overwhelmed the capacity of consumers to process it. They are also creating widening gaps between those who have and those who do not have efficient access to technology and knowledge. This is happening both within and across countries, and particularly among consumers. This is a scenario common to many technologies in the world but within the context of the health system, one that we can ill afford to ignore.Consumer health informatics is a whole new academic discipline, one that is devoted to the exploration of the new issues, possibilities and challenges that technological advances are creating for consumers in relation to health and health care issues. In this presentation, I will focus on aspects of consumer health informatics that have global significance. I will illustrate how meeting current challenges and optimizing the opportunities will require substantial changes in the levels of health literacy of the general population, in the structure and politics of the health system and even in the way in which humans think and behave.I will also introduce the participants to the Global eHealth Innovation Network, a rapidly growing group of individuals, research settings and tools that will provide unique conditions to accelerate, in all regions of the world, the re-conceptualization and transformation of the role of consumers within the health system.