What is information and communication technology?
Information and communication technology is a very broad terms. It refers to various gadgets that aid in communication such as mobile phones, radios and satellite communication. The term is also used to refer to various means of direct communication such as video conferencing. In short, information and communication technology, better known in its abbreviated form as ICT, is a tool that helps in improving communication among businesses and commerce activities in different parts of the world. In fact, ICT is so commonly used in commerce field to communicate various financial matters such as acceptance of money, producing receipts and transferring funds that ICT and ecommerce have become almost synonymous terms. ICT creates inroads for better accessibility of all sorts of information for people from all over the world.
However, the scope of ICT extends much beyond commerce transactions. It is widely used in education and medical arenas as well. Advanced medical care techniques, various researches being carried out in medical field in different parts of the world and training are just some of the fields in the medical arena that have largely benefited from the growth of information and communication technology. ICT makes sharing data concerning medical research easy, in addition to myriad other benefits as elucidated in the paragraphs below.
How does ICT help in improving medical science and health care ?
It is an established fact that information and communication technologies are the backbone of the current information system. Their scope is also extremely vast. Health care facilities have been largely benefited by the evolvement of ICT. Owing to information and communication technologies, the entire world has become a small global village with regard to medical and health care. Further, even within a particular state or country, data can easily be transmitted from one place to another within no time at all. This technology helps doctors, hospitals, the general public and all other medical care providers.
Pharmaceutical industry is the industry that enjoys the biggest benefits of ICT. All the medical data available helps in assessing the medicine requirements, makes them aware of similar research being carried out in different parts of the world and in letting the world know about their developments. To put it in a nutshell, information and communication technology has contributed to a large extent in improving the quality of health care, as a whole, all over the world.
ICT has made e-health possible. This is the concept in which doctors get better access to patient information even if they live states apart. They also get a faster access to medical records, case studies and laboratory results. The technology also helps in better communication between doctors and pharmacists. Patients can also be largely benefited as in becoming more self reliant and responsible for their health. Patients who suffer with chronic and serious ailments such as heart conditions can regularly monitor their health parameters and convey the results to doctors on a regular basis so that the doctor is never out of touch with such patients. In other words, ICT lets patients and doctors get on with their lives without the patient having to visit the doctor often but still keeping track of the latest developments in patients’ health.
How ICT has brought a paradigm shift in the healthcare of European Union ?
Information and communication technology has brought a major paradigm shift in the health care scenario of the entire world, and the countries belonging to the European Union are no exception. The system has simplified access to provision of medical care, irrespective of the physical location of the place. TeleMedicine is an upcoming field, which owes its origin to ICT. This is a branch of medical care in which, doctors and patients can interact with each other over video conferences and doctors can gauge the condition of the patient in a much better manner than just consulting on a telephone. This innovative technology allows specialists from different parts of the world to look at patients who live across the ocean. ICT also provides a better platform for policy makers, members of the government, medical care providers and public authorities to interact with each other and improve medical care in the country. The barriers between the different countries in the European Union are diminished owing to the development of ICT. The system has proved to be very beneficial to providers of medical equipments since they can assess the demand based on the records and develop suitable instruments. ICT has enhanced the medical market in Europe to a great extent. Further, ICT also allows European health care providers and tools and drug manufacturers to expand their business globally.
eHealth policy of Europe
In May 2010, European Commission adopted the eHealth policy. The features of the policy were a par tof Digital Agenda for Europe. The Directive of the European Parliament and the Council, on matters regarding application of the right of patients for over the border or international medical care. The information and communication technology that has been a branch that deals with social challenges and is called ICT for Social Challenges. Under the Pillar 7 of this branch, emphasis is laid on using ICT to reduce consumption of energy and provide better health care and support to aging citizens. Under the same pillar, it focuses on the fact that ICT is used to bring a paradigm shift in the general health care methods, in addition to providing excellent basic health care to every patient.
The digital agenda of the European Union is set to undergo a major change. Along with different things that are being lined up for digitization, health care is also included in it. Furthermore, European Union countries can employ the concept of ICT to merge their medical facilities to provide a better health care regime. However, people need to be made aware of the system of ICT so that a larger percentage of population can use the system for their benefit. Electronic health or ehealth as it is known is created so that several factors such as internal and external health care market, employment, innovation and research can be identified and treated properly.