A study, published in the European Heart Journal, has specified that education and research presented in a social media format is important in winning the battle against cardiovascular disease. Examples of e-health include:
mobile applications (Apps) for monitoring physiological signs such as blood pressure, telemedicine for remote monitoring of patients with heart failure, electronic medical records, e-prescribing, e-referrals, decision support systems for physicians, and disease registries. Access to information to prevent heart disease based on healthy sustainable behavioral lifestyle changes is as crucial as relevant apps.
“Information and communication technology (ICT) plays a central role in helping us make decisions in almost every aspect of life including what to buy and where to travel, and patients are often frustrated that healthcare does not keep pace,” said lead author Professor Martin R. Cowie, professor of cardiology at Imperial College London and the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, UK.
It is estimated that by the year 2017 more than 3 billion people will use health apps.
“ICT has the potential to personalise healthcare, help patients take more responsibility for their own health, and cut down on costly hospital stays. The ESC sees e-health as vital to achieving its mission of reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe and will take a proactive role in developing, assessing and implementing ICT innovations to support cardiovascular health, said Professor Cowie.”
The ESC’s action plan includes the following:
· Facilitate wider implementation of e-health
· Educate and train ESC members in the appropriate use of e-health
· Discuss regulation and quality control (including benchmarks) with relevant organisations
· Participate in societal and political discussions on data security and confidentiality
· Promote policy dialogue at local, national and international levels with governments, regulators, payers, professional bodies, citizens, patients, healthcare professionals and industry
· Provide information for European citizens on the risks and benefits of e-health applications.
“By 2017 more than 3 billion people worldwide will own a smartphone and half of them will be using health Apps,” said Professor Cowie. “But professional organisations have largely ignored this area of health and lifestyle decision making. There is no global approach to regulation of health Apps and consumers can be misled into purchasing a technology that is less beneficial than advertised.”
“More clarity is needed on data protection issues, confidentiality and legal liability of developers and service providers,” said Pro. Cowie “The ESC is keen to work with all stakeholders — consumer and patient organisations, health professionals and organisations, public authorities, App developers, telecommunication service providers, mobile device manufacturers, and others — to optimise the design and implementation of new technologies for cardiovascular health.”