Advances in information technology and telecommunications will inevitably bring about a revolution in the provision of health care and the related services. This revolution will be characterised, amongst other things, by: the digitisation and interlinking of previously disconnected health information sources forming the so-called health information infrastructure; the establishment of a shared care environment favourable to collaboration between health care providers, contributing in this way to continuity of care, and most importantly, by empowering the individuals through a direct involvement in the processes of prevention, education, care and rehabilitation by providing health related services and information anywhere and anytime.
Thus, the prime concern in health telematics has shifted away from capturing and storing data, to effectively accessing the medical collections to facilitate informed service provision. Such a compelling need has driven the development of advanced interaction technologies, aiming to increase the usefulness of health-related information by rendering them attainable and manipulable more easily, effectively and efficiently by all actors involved. Despite recent advances, the health telematics applications and services are not yet widely used. Among the challenges are the technological issues (e.g. interoperability of heterogeneous databases), issues relating to legal framework, to health telematics market, to the lack of vision of decision makers, and to user acceptance issues ( Iakovidis 1998). Of course clear incentive is the most____________________