•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Health IT applications today generally incorporate patients as passive users or consumers of information rather than active individuals who, in concert with their providers, are motivated and jointly responsible for their own good health. This article uses the healthcare value chain concept [Porter and Teisberg, 2006] as a framework to identify gaps in patient-centered e-health applications. While patient diversity poses challenges similar to consumer diversity for application design, consumer-centric design is limiting for patient-centered e-health because patients should not simply consume health care; they need to interact at multiple stages, alter their behaviors, and actively participate. This article raises critical research questions specific to this challenge. It defines a new term, “healthicant,” to motivate a research focus on technology-enabled applications that support individuals responsible for their own health and well-being, and who seek appropriate assistance as needed to prevent, diagnose, prepare, intervene, rehabilitate, monitor, and manage their health throughout their lifetime. The article contrasts the objectives of healthicants with both healthcare providers (for whom most health IT has been created) and more passive patients (for whom current “patient-centered” applications are evolving), in order to identify important gaps today. These include systems that support healthicant motivation, measurement, analysis, data mining, real-time personalized feedback, and multidirectional communication.

Share

COinS