Many analysts argue that e-health not only holds promise as a means of making health care more affordable and broadly available, but that it also might encourage the independence and social engagement of older adults. E-health includes services or systems that incorporate information technology, such as computerized records.
In many ways, the U.S. has been behind the curve on providing e-health programs and innovation, particularly to older adults. A memorandum between the U.S. and the European Commission will hopefully integrate user standards on both sides of the Atlantic, making the transfer of e-health technologies and programs more efficient. Late in 2010, U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius met with Vice President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the purpose of creating growth in the e-health industry both in the EU and in the U.S., and to internationally share resources and information about e-health.
In a statement, Kroes called attention to the potential for e-health not only to make the provision of health care more efficient and cost-effective, but to encourage the independence of older adults and to improve their communication with doctors and other health professionals. Kroes argued that this may enable individuals to manage their health within the context of their daily lives, and not only when a crisis or acute condition emerges. Yet Kroes also cautioned that technical innovations are not being made available to the majority of individuals who stand to benefit from them. In light of the ongoing transition to electronic medicine and medical information, it is important to monitor the extent to which older adults are being included in these changes.
Pew Internet and American Life Project: Digital Divide:
From eGov monitor:
EU/US: Transatlantic eHealth Agreement Signed (1/12/2011): http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/40205
An ePrescribing system is implemented in Croatia (1/17/2011): http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/40062
Neelie Kroes, EU Digital Agenda Commissioner, “eHealth – Empowering citizens and improving care (1/19/2011): http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/40313