Editor’s Pick: Democratising Healthcare: The Role of eHealth Technologies in Driving Patient Participation

For my first Editor’s Pick I have highlighted the paper ‘The Role of eHealth technologies in driving patient participation’. As technology-assisted healthcare expands, we must ensure that those often left behind and disadvantaged are included and prioritised. To echo the views of Robert Wachter, as mentioned in my foreword, technology provides us with the tools for human endeavour, but does not yet replace it! Dr Mike Bewick

*Julia Amann1,2

1. Department of Health Sciences and Health Policy, University of Lucerne and
Swiss Paraplegic Research, Lucerne/Nottwil, Switzerland
2. Swiss Paraplegic Research, Nottwil, Switzerland
*Correspondence to julia.amann@paraplegie.ch

Disclosure: The author has declared no conflicts of interest.
Acknowledgements: The author would like to thank Nicola Diviani and Sara Rubinelli (University of Lucerne and Swiss Paraplegic Research), and Nadine Häusler (University of Zurich) for their support and valuable feedback to earlier versions of this manuscript. The author would also like to thank the reviewers for their critical remarks and valuable feedback.
Received: 30.09.16 Accepted: 01.12.16
Citation: EMJ Innov. 2017;1[1]:40-46.

Abstract

Digital technologies are changing how we practice and experience healthcare. This review focusses on the role of eHealth technologies in facilitating patient participation within the healthcare process. The central claim of this paper is that interactive, web-based technologies allow individuals to become more active participants in the healthcare process, thereby opening up new perspectives and opportunities for improving healthcare.

By drawing on findings from recent research, the review seeks to highlight how the increasing availability of health information and individuals’ ability to easily connect to others around the globe can facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration between the general public, patients, healthcare professionals, and researchers. Acknowledging some of the potential challenges and pitfalls further shows how these new technologies, if used appropriately, can promote a new form of patient participation that goes beyond the individual level and as such, constitutes an invaluable resource for healthcare research and practice.

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