The role of technology within our daily lives is increasing rapidly. We use the internet to buy new clothes, get in touch with old friends or make new ones, and even to attend to our financial affair. Many people use technology to support their health as well. This is called e-Health, the use information and communication technology to support health, well being and healthcare. But want kind of technologies can we use to improve our health and healthcare?
Apps are a very-known example of e-Health, most people have tried out an app to improve their mental or physical health at least once. Some apps can teach you relaxation skills, help in monitoring and sticking to diets, or they support you in getting enough exercise.Apps can be used by healthcare workers as well, for example to assist nurses in administering the right medication.
Maybe you possess or have seen people wearing devices like the Apple watch, Fitbit or Pebble. These wearable technologies are often linked to apps that are used to monitor and coaching your health. They can, among other things, monitor sleep, movement or heart rate during the entire day. All of the collected data is used to provide you with insight into your health behavior and give you feedback and tips on how to become even healthier.
Most of the first e-Health technologies were web-based, and there still are a lot of e-Health technologies that can be accessed via the world wide web. In the Netherlands for example, psychologist prescribe web-based modules to client with e.g. anxiety disorder or autism. Websites can also be used to help people individually cope with problems like alcohol addiction or depressive complaints. It can also be used in a medical setting: patient with a chronic disease might use online health records where they can maintain health data and information related to their disease, and share it with their doctors.
Virtual Reality(VR) is being used more and more in healthcare and healthcare professionals and their patients really seem to like it. Virtual reality is used in medical setting, for example to help relieve pain in children by having them swim with dolphins during or after painful medical procedures. It’s also suitable for helping people overcome their
fears since a VR environment can feel very real. An example of this is the treatment of people with a fear of flying by exposing them to a flight in a VR environment.
The first studies on videoconferencing in healthcare settings were published many years ago, indicating that healthcare workers have been using it for a long period of time. You have probably used a program like Skype or Face Time, maybe when you wanted to see and speak to someone who was at a different location. These kinds of programs enable someone who was at a different location. These kinds of programs enable people to see each other
while having a conversation. General Practitioners use it to have contact with their patients when they, for example, have burns or rashes that they want to show to their GP, or when the patient lives in a remote area. Healthcare professionals use it among each other as well, for example when doctors want to consult an expert colleague who is
not working in the same hospital.
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