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Electronic Health (eHealth)- Characteristics, Tools & ProgrammesBY: Divya Narayan | Category: Healthcare | Submitted: 2014-01-30 05:52:43
Article Summary: "Electronic Health or eHealth is the term used to refer to the usage of information and communication technology (ICT) in the field of healthcare. The first use of eHealth dates back to at least 1999..."
WHAT IS ELECTRONIC HEALTH?
Electronic Health is also known as eHealth.
eHealth is the term used to refer to the usage of information and communication technology (ICT) in the field of healthcare. The first use of eHealth dates back to at least 1999. 
An ePatient is a health consumer who is actively involved in healthcare. The relationship between an ePatient and a medical practitioner is that of equals. 
The WHO regards eHealth to be a cost-effective and secure method of using technology in the field of healthcare for various purposes such as - 
Using mobile phones for providing healthcare services - known as mHealth - can also be regarded as part of eHealth.
As electronic technology faces danger from cybercrime, since 2011, there has been a greater awareness for increasing security and addressing privacy concerns with regards to usage of newer modes of technology in the field of healthcare.
CHARACTERISTICS OF eHEALTH - 
Other than "Electronic", eHealth also possesses various other characteristics, which are better known as the "10 e's of eHealth" -
1. Efficiency - Improving efficiency in healthcare services and decreasing healthcare costs
2. Enhancement in quality of healthcare - Giving rights to patients about the right to choose appropriate medical treatment and directing patients to the best medical facilities
3. Evidence-based - Type of service provided should be based on scientific evidence and evaluation
4. Empowerment - Empowering patients by increasing availability of various medical databases and records through the Internet
5. Encouragement - Improving patient-medical practitioner relationship
6. Education - Increasing education of physicians through online resources
7. Enabling exchange of information - Improving communication and exchange of information between various parties involved
8. Extension of scope of healthcare - Availability of medical resources and services for patients throughout the world
9. Ethics - Addressing ethical issues regarding eHealth such as privacy concerns and potential misuse of patient data and records
10. Equitable healthcare - Making eHealth a convenient and affordable system of healthcare for people throughout the world
TOOLS OF eHEALTH
eHEALTH PROGRAMMES -
Depression and Anxiety eHealth programmes -
v FearFighter - This is an online programme for the treatment of panic attacks and phobias. It works on the basis of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This programme helps people identify specific triggers associated with phobias and anxiety attacks and avoid them accordingly. The duration of each session of this programme lasts for about 30 minutes.
FearFighter has been tested and trialled by around 700 patients, and has also received an endorsement from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) to be a clinically effective and standard method of treating anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and phobias. 
v Beating the Blues - This is a computerized Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT) programme which helps in dealing with mild to moderate forms of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, as well as issues regarding substance abuse.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK uses this particular therapy as part of its mental health treatment programme. Research also shows that computerized Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programmes such as "Beating the Blues" are extremely effective in helping people deal with mental health issues by teaching them practical living and positive thinking. 
v Mental Health Online (formerly Anxiety Online) - This is an online mental health programme which helps in the assessment and diagnosis of various mental illnesses. It also provides self-help and therapeutic treatment for adults suffering from anxiety.
This programme is an initiative created by the National eTherapy Centre (NeCT). This programme comprises of four stages -
1. Providing information about various mental health issues and their treatment
2. Assessing the psychological state of an individual by completing an online psychological assessment programme (e-PASS) which helps in obtaining an online diagnosis of any underlying psychological illnesses, and also recommending appropriate treatment options.
3. Providing treatment choices for various types of anxiety disorders - SAD, OCD, Panic attacks, PTSD, etc.
4. Availability of treatments based on various scientific research trials, and encouraging research participation for improving methods of treatment. 
v This Way Up - This is an online programme which provides information related to treatment and prevention of illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
This programme has two aims -
1. Providing education about recovery from mental illnesses and conducting research related to therapy for mental illnesses
2. Training counselors, psychologists, and clinicians about the right approach to treat and cure mental illnesses 
Smoking Cessation -
→ QuitCoach - This is a personalized plan created to encourage smokers to quit smoking. Each plan is based on the responses received for a customized questionnaire which contains specific, personalized, and unique questions regarding the individual's smoking habits. 
→ Freedom From Smoking - This is a free online smoking cessation programme which lasts for a duration of seven weeks.
This programme deals with the root cause of smoking, and addresses various key issues related to nicotine addiction -
1. Stress management
2. Nicotine withdrawal
3. Weight control
4. Long-term strategies for quitting smoking 
mHealth Apps -
→ Calorie Counter - This is a mobile app that is used by dieters and weightwatchers to keep a track of the number of calories consumed. This app also provides information for various strategies related to weight loss, nutrition, health food, and physical activity. 
→ WebMD - This app provides access to information related to health such as pharmaceutical drugs (side effects and contraindications), various health conditions, symptoms of various illnesses, first aid, location of nearest physician or pharmacy or hospital, etc. 
→ My Tracks - This app is extremely useful for outdoor activity such as walking, running, cycling, etc. This app keeps track of progress of various details of physical activity such as speed, distance covered, time, and elevation. 
→ RunKeeper - This app helps measure the heart rate during physical activity, and weight loss due to burning of calories. 
→ Weight Watchers Mobile - This app helps in tracking calories consumed, physical activity, and body weight. This app also provides various tips for weight loss, as well as acts as a search tool for nutritious and healthy food. This app provides suggestions for different workout ideas for various levels of physical and fitness activity. 
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