As an industry, healthcare exhibits numerous contradictions, most notably with regard to its embracement of technology. On one hand, medical science is at the cutting edge with technology playing a key role in new techniques in oncology and cardiology as well as advances in various aspects of biomedical engineering. In contrast, healthcare delivery is a noted laggard with regard to its incorporation of technology. Current challenges which are impacting all members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries (including longer life expectancy, ageing population and technological changes) continue to exponentially affect rising health expenditures. Reducing these expenditures as well as offering effective and efficient quality healthcare treatment has now become a key priority on all healthcare agendas. Technology and automation in general have the potential to reduce these costs; hence, OECD countries are now looking at how to use information and communication technologies (ICT) in general and e-health solutions in particular to address these challenges and thereby enable superior healthcare delivery.

The following presents the key points and initial findings from an exploratory research in progress that is focussed on uncovering critical issues for developing successful e-health solutions in two OECD countries: Australia and Germany.