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Health Information Seeking

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Introduction

The internet is having a profound effect on the masses and with effect on health consumers on how they go about seeking for information from available health management information systems. The impact of internet on the practice of medicine is apparent health consumer becomes more computer-literate enabling them to access literature and relevant information regarding particular illnesses and the ability to source for the best available doctors. This paper seeks to explore some of the impact computer technology has on the planning and management of health management information seeking as well as the changes implemented and expected to be made so as to ensure an accommodation of emerging new policies, regulation, governance as well as globalization in this field.

Health Information Seeking

Anticipated shifts in service utilization due to consumer health information seeking. Health information by consumers is increasingly taking place through the internet as well as other information communication technology which is acting to reduce costs of medical service, minimizing the spatial as well as time barriers, increasing access to medical services, enabling a faster diffusion of medical research, acting to improve the empowerment and emotional support for patients, minimizing cues and associated social isolation arising from social status as well as improving the provision for support that is peer-group oriented. Face-to-face interaction for sessions such as consultation can now take place through other media (virtually over the internet), with almost instantaneous acquisition of desired information and ultimately making them more informed about the treatment options available (Tan & Payton 2010).  

The District of Columbia Primary Care Association is focused on improving the delivery of healthcare service to the poor and underserved populations in its new Regional Health Information Organization. Internet use in health information seeking is on the rise. However there are still numerous non-internet users out there.  The population being targeted by the Regional Health Information Organization is comprised of the largest number of non-internet users in America. This indicates that this population is likely to continue relying on traditional methods of seeking information regarding their healthcare. This includes such sources as television, discussions with friends and family over the problem, consultations with providers of healthcare in a small minority as well as print and radio media. As such, this call for multiple access points to be implemented so as to address the discrepancy. The project will as such utilize integrated electron medical records solutions that will link the community health centers which are customized to match the needs as well as special requirements for each of the centers (Tan & Payton 2010).

The previous networks proved to be limited as most of them were seen as adopting a silo approach and also relied heavily on pre-internet technology which was cumbersome, data that lacked standardization as well as funding sources that were insufficient. The new network allows for health care delivery on-demand which is also governed by the client.  The network under RHIN is committed to the improvement of health care quality as well as easing its safe accessibility as well as efficiency by using health information technology. As demonstrated by the Washington example, this is achieved through communitywide collaborations as well as the creation of organizational structures that are sustainable. In effect, the system design aims at moving information on healthcare in a manner that is efficient and inexpensive (Tan & Payton 2010).

Conclusion

Although Internet use in health information seeking is on the rise, there are still numerous non-internet users out there.  This calls for multiple access points to be implemented in the field of health information provision so as to address this discrepancy. This is expected to create greater equity in efforts of information dissemination to consumers, empowerment of users as well as democratization of the healthcare process. This is the main aim of evolving technology-enabled models of health information provision.

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