E-health in practice

A new report gives an overview of the developments and benefits of using e-health, with 29 cases from across the European Region.

E-health is a broad concept, defined as the use of electronic means to deliver information, resources and services related to health. Many terms are included in e-health, such as:

  • electronic health records;
  • mobile health, or m-health;
  • telehealth or telemedicine;
  • health-related e-learning;
  • social media for health;
  • health data analysis and “big data”

The following examples illustrate different uses of e-health:

Improving appointment systems in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Before 2011, patients in Skopje experienced long waiting times to see doctors and have diagnostic tests. The MojTermin (My Time) system made it possible to book appointments online and receive text message reminders and for decision-makers to access a live dashboard to see referrals, prescriptions and requests in real time. The system was so successful in reducing waiting times that it rapidly expanded from a pilot project to become a key part of public and private health care in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

First nationwide electronic health record system 

Estonia launched its electronic record system in 2008, becoming the first country in the world to fully implement such a system nationwide, with records covering an individual’s medical history from birth to death. Information on the health of 1.35 million people (98% of the population) is now in the system, and e-prescriptions account for 98% of all prescriptions issued. The electronic record system forms part of the broader eEstonia electronic public services, which, in addition to e-health, include e-taxes, e-schools, e-commercial registries and e-elections.

Training medical students in using a multilingual, virtual, simulated patient

11 countries in the Region have created a multilingual, virtual, simulated “patient” that responds and behaves in the same way as a real patient being seen in a primary care setting. It can be used by medical students in different countries with different languages. The system simulates a clinical interview with a virtual patient presenting with symptoms of one or a combination of illnesses.

To read the report From Innovation to Implementation on the who.int website