Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

It Solutions for Healthcare System in Poland: In Search of Benchmarks in Various Economic Perspectives

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

It Solutions for Healthcare System in Poland: In Search of Benchmarks in Various Economic Perspectives

Article excerpt

Introduction

Digital technologies have revolutionized the world. In particular, a significant development has occurred in information and communication technologies (hereinafter: ICT) in Europe over the past twenty years. These approaches support consumers in different parts of their lives, including the structural changes in healthcare systems and healthcare delivery to individual consumers (European Commission, 2014). Digital technologies have direct effects on people's lives, with the estimates that there will be 6,58 connected electronic devices per person all over the world by 2020. These projections estimate that staggering 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020 (Evans, 2011). According to McKinsey Global Institute, worldwide Internet of Things market will have a potential of over 10% of the world economy by 2025 (Manyika et al., 2015).

Digital progress has made inroads in nearly all economic sectors, including healthcare. As such, information and communication technologies enable patient centricity in the delivery of care, improved access to relevant resources, healthcare providers, and bidirectional flow of information between individuals and healthcare providers. As a result, healthcare system should become more personalized. More involved and informed patients can obtain better results by implementing measures (healthy lifestyle, diet and exercising) to prevent diseases (thus, in the long-term prospective reducing healthcare expenditures at both individual and social levels). Improved communication healthcare provider (physician, nurse)-to-patient, patients' access to the information on the methods of therapy, and their health state, as well as to the test results increase participation in the treatment process, and can have significant impact on the state of health (Earnest et al., 2004). Thanks to greater access, possibility of controlling patients' health information gives them chance to increase health literacy and engagement (Weitzman et al., 2009). Their satisfaction is greater, while time needed for orientation how to use electronic devices is relatively short (Greysen et al., 2014). More involved and informed patients are less likely to choose the non-adherence to prescribed therapy, which is now the case with up to 50% of patients even in situations after life threatening illness such as heart attack. Another potential benefit for patients and healthcare expenditures is greater detection and avoidance of medical errors due to ICT use. As a result, healthcare quality could improve, with better application of the guideline mandated therapies and shortening of the most expensive element in the patient journey through the healthcare, namely hospitalization. IT solutions enable measures to be embedded and monitored throughout the healthcare system. They also provide a platform for faster and more effective comparative research. They also should be envisioned for faster implementation of therapeutic guidelines.

According to the European Commission: "eHealth is the use of ICT in health products, services and processes combined with organizational change in healthcare systems and new skills, in order to improve health of citizens, efficiency and productivity in healthcare delivery, and the economic and social value of health" (Communication from the Commission, 2012, p. 3). eHealth presents ICT application in the entire set of functions affecting health care sector. It contains tools not only for health care authorities and health care providers, but also for patients (COCIR, 2015). From the standpoint of this research: "eHealth covers the interaction between patients and health-service providers, institution-toinstitution transmission of data, or peer-to-peer communication between patients and/or health professionals" (Communication from the Commission, 2012, p. 3).

The definition of Electronic Health Record (hereinafter: EHR) is variable. According to eHealth Strategies Report, EHR is the longer-term electronic record of a patient which comprise or virtually interconnected data in numerous Electronic Medical Records (hereinafter: EMR) and Electronic Patient Records (hereinafter: EPR). …

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