The Implications of State of the Art Applications - especially through WWW -
in Health Related Industries : From the Commercial Perspective
There are many challenges to achieve better healthcare at less cost. WWW
will force the industry to face them by equipping the early adapters with tools
to meet the new paradigm - perhaps at the expense of their more conservative
- The WWW is an important development which is already changing
fundamentally the way in which medical information is delivered between
healthcarers and across borders.
- The task is to integrate disparate systems from diverse sources using emergent
standards and WWW is one of the new tools that will enhance the process of
turning data into information.
- From the commercial perspective WWW, at its anarchistic early stage of
evolution, does not feel a natural medium for the serious task of providing fast,
accurate, timely and secure communications for the transmission of confidential
- WWW's attraction is as a driver of the necessary change by breaking down
barriers by empowering users and changing the way medicine is practiced. It
will change the relationships between the palyers - medics, patients, payers and
- Thus WWW can act as the catalyst in changing the paradigm from
Doctor/illness based medicine to Patient/wellness practice where better
medical decisions are made earlier and people are kept out of hospital - and
eventually by patient education and self help out of primary care surgeries.
However, again from the commercial perspective:
- The emergence of low cost delivery alone is not sufficient to engender the
necessary investment. Where delivery becomes free over the Internet the
value will be in the information and the integrators must be allowed to make a
return on adding that value. Medical professionals need (access to) the
complete clinical record, whether text , sound or image, at the point of first
intervention for the best/right decision early.
- Recognising that the patient's clinical data is the raw material of healthcare it
is clear that IT is fundamental to better healthcare at less cost and that WWW is
an early agent of change.
- Equally, it is clear that citizens who insist that they carry their own records,
even in electronic format, will pay relatively more for their healthcare than
those who allow the healthcare system straightforward access to their clinical
record shared between professionals.
NOTE: The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of his
Wed Mar 12 1997