Citizens worldwide are using the Internet and other ICT technologies as an aid in dealing with their personal health issues. They are collecting information, discussing with peers, consulting with professionals, purchasing health products and so on. These are the areas of research for the NST 'e-health consumer program'.
Projects under the aegis of the European Commission are underscoring the role of ICT in healthcare and the importance of cooperation among European nations in developing eHealth strategies. The most recent report is a 20-page brochure, published Thursday 19 April, titled "Information Society and Health: Linking European Policies."
Almost one in four EU households is now connected to the internet via high-speed broadband links. Broadbands popularity grows with household size only 12% of single households have it, compared with 34% of those with four members or more. And, of those households that have only narrowband internet connections, 40% do not wish to upgrade, either because they are satisfied with the speed of their dial-up connection or because they do not use the internet enough to justify the higher cost of broadband. So says an EU-wide survey of 25,000 representative households, conducted between 7 December 2005 and 11 January 2006. The survey findings are summarized in a special Eurobarometer report published today as a contribution to the ongoing public debate on the review of the EUs regulatory framework for electronic communications of 2002 (see IP/06/874).
Cercle Sante Societe and Europe Assistance Group have launched an annual survey to serve as a barometer of 'the attitudes and practises of European citizens with respect to their health care systems'. Slide 25-30 is especially on Internet and on-line consultations. Go to read the results
The European Commission
has recently launched the EU public health portal as a single point of reference for reliable and easily accessible information on a wide range of health-related topics for citizens, patients, health professionals, stakeholders and policy-makers.
Link to the portal
Background: The Norwegian surveys (2000, 2001, 2002)
The WHO/European survey is a further development and expansion of a
Norwegian annual survey on e-Health consumer trends, conducted by the NST over
the past three years . Link to the English summary of the Norwegian survey
The Center for Information Therapy offers a resource center to help organizations implement information therapy. The resource center will maintain a database of Ix projects and organizations involved in information therapy and will offer educational assistance, share best practices, and provide networking leads from the database. Information therapy (Ix) is the timely prescription and availability of evidence-based health information to meet individuals' specific needs and support sound decision making.
We have collected a few articles on health related Internet use.