Advantages and Disadvantages of E-health:
The benefits associated with E-health are difficult to accurately identify, due to the lack of clear, quality information about the current health care system (Wald, Dube, & Anthony, 2007). However, unlike the traditional health system, e-health and m-mobile, as in any other technology area, has a unique advantage. In their study on E-health Zvárová, &Zvára (2000) outline a number of benefits, such as efficiency, low cost, accessibility, equitable healthcare, and privacy. In contrast, some scholars suspect certain disadvantages of E-health in terms of the privacy of personal information and data security. Both sides will be considered by looking at the benefits and disadvantages of E- services.
• Efficiency and low cost
There is no doubt that e-health has improved the current situation by saving time: enhancing and accelerating the manual booking system and providing shard databases in different healthcare areas (Berland et al., 2001). For example, a blood test or an X-ray are usually taken at least once at the primary medical examination office and another time at the specialist’s office. The Australian Department of Health and Ageing annual report shows that 25% of a doctor’s time is spent looking for information about patients. E-health makes such repetition unnecessary.
• Accessible and equitable healthcare system
The internet has introduced a new approach to information access. E-health, through the use of a new technologies like smartphones, tablets and personal PCs created an alternative channel to offer access and choice in healthcare (Maheu, Whitten, & Allen, 2002). Regardless of patients “demographic or geographic” (Wald, Hedy S, P.6) information, e-health technologies enhance opportunities for a more accessible and equitable system of healthcare services. As a result, Maheu, Whitten, & Allen (2002) have shown that patients today are more confident in their personal decisions about their health and exercise healthcare behaviors that could help them decrease their utilisation of the health services overall. Services like web-based health (for example, WebMD) provide health information, including checklists and medicine information, in order to provide personal equitable health information.
Moumtzoglou & Kastania (2011) define quality of healthcare as “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements” (P. 105). Over the past three decade online services such as e-health and m-mobile have and will continue to cause changes in the administration of healthcare. Previous studies on the quality of online health (Zvárová, Jana, &Zvára, Karel. 2011) have concluded that these services improve healthcare in the following ways:
• Enable consumers to better manage their health through the provision and improvement of the quality and volume of health information available to consumers. For example, health support often replaces traditional services, such as online booking.
• Online health services provide programs for individual care and self-service. For instance, this includes the establishment of electronic care plans and management, disease registries, home monitoring and the decision support associated with them.
E-health plays a role in enhancing decision support for doctors and patients to improve their healthcare information background. This leads to a reduction in medical errors and improvement in health treatment.
Despite the numerous benefits associated with the e-health services, some scholars have observed potential disadvantages. These disadvantages include the improper use of personal information, security breaches and the authorisation of access for unauthorised people (van Uden-Kraan et al., 2008).
• Privacy of personal information
Privacy is the key issues when it comes to quality in e-health (Moumtzoglou, 2011). Indeed, this concern keeps consumers from trying E-health to see its benefits (Caddie, lecturer week 1, slide 48). However, there are still many standards and policies that need to be established to make consumers willing to shopping online. The essential prerequisite of privacy for an E-health care system is indisputable, nevertheless, the research should focus on finding policies to ensure the optimal use of e-health for healthcare entities such as workers, insurers, and payment center representatives (Viswanath&Kreuter, 2007). In addition, decision-makers regarding privacy policies should take into account the cultural different between varieties of consumers who will use the same services. It is popularly believed that running such a policy must be in alignment with local legal and public policies, or there is no effect. For companies that develop reasonable policies to avoid conflicts with local legal and public policies, this is a consideration.
• Security, confidentiality and authorisation of access
Unauthorised access might breach a patient’s confidentiality and privacy (Zvárová, Jana, & Zvára, Karel, 2011). Moumtzoglou & Kastania (2011) define confidentiality as a tool used to protect privacy information. E-health allows everyone in the healthcare industry to access and obtain medical reports, even staff not in charge of the patientTo enhance online health confidentiality, the health sector must have universal standards to produce the same quality, security and reliability. According to Zvárová and Zvára (2011), “confidentiality and security are pivotal issues, when quality in e-health is concerned, while a sound system is certainly secure and efficient” (P. 118). From a human perspective, security concerns may depend more on human nature. For example, the use of different user names and passwords for different services is noticeably very low, meaning that people like use the same password for different emails, bank accounts, and other services, like online health.
• Loss or corruption of data
Failure to protect data and resources could happen even with precautions like backups and anti-virus protection. If system failures occur, this could make the data unreachable by doctors. For example, the percentage of restored data from a broken computer may leave the retrieval of patient data uncertain (Viswanath & Kreuter, 2007). From a safety perspective, the most important matter in the implemention of IT in health deals with the hardware and software systems (Viswanath, K, &Kreuter, Matthew W, 2007). In this space, the implementation of the E-health system may face significant problems in terms of information visibility and data access. As a result, more cooperation between IT specialists and healthcare workers may reduce the potential risk of loss or corruption of data.
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