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Tuesday 18 November 2008

Health care players and their key information needs


Patient

A patient can be defined as a person who receives medical examination, treatment, guidance or care from a health care professional. The contact between the patient and the health care services initiates the process of care. The patient is therefore the most important party in the health care system. A patient needs knowledge about basic health issues, access to information specifically relevant to his/her condition, awareness of health system and the options available.


Practitioner

The practitioner is any healthcare professional and is distinguished from a provider. The patient gets in touch with the physician (general practitioner or specialist) for consultation, which may include medical investigations, treatment or supervision of the plan of care. In e-health, it is practitioners who are engaged with clients or other practitioners in the delivery of health care. A practitioner needs access to best, up-to-date medical knowledge available pertaining to their patients.


Provider

Include healthcare service providers (hospitals, medical and academic research institutions), diagnostic equipment providers, informatics and computer suppliers, professional associations, health management organizations, insurance companies, the Ministry of Health, Communications (or equivalent) and pharmaceutical companies. A provider needs expertise to promote and sustain healthy life and social practices among its clientele. In a triangle, all the three sides are essential to complete the whole. Similarly in healthcare services all the three key players are vital. As e-health is the result of convergence of telecommunication, information and health care technologies, technology in general turns out to be the linking factor between these three key players. Successful implementation of e-health requires clear understanding of the roles these three are expected to play. Hence development of certain protocols and strict adherence to them becomes essential

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