Final_draft - Consumer health informatics is a new paradigm...

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Consumer health informatics is a new paradigm that seeks the remove the information gap between the patients and valuable health care information. The healthcare information could be their own health records or even important healthcare related information that would help them to better manage their pathological conditions and lead and healthy lifestyle. The inherent philosophy is consumer health informatics is to give the power to the end-users or patients to make intelligent healthcare decisions through proper access to information. The relevance of consumer health informatics in the present times indicates the desire at the level of the healthcare consumers to take control and know more about their own health conditions. The consumer health informatics paradigm is a convergence of different domains such as information and communication technology, health literacy and public health, to name a few. We are witnessing a change in the traditional roles of the patients and the healthcare providers in the 21 st century thanks mainly to the phenomenal progress in information and computational technology. The generation today is highly independent, proactive and computer literate. They are active users of the internet and they endeavour to gain every kind of knowledge, thanks to the ease of access to information made possible by excellent resources such as Google. This has created a challenging situation for the IT organization as they try to create more innovative and secure avenues for healthcare information access, retrieval and dissemination. It can be said that consumer health informatics was actually shaped by the changing requirements of the healthcare consumers and the healthcare providers. Equally true is the fact that consumer health informatics is also responsible for this change in roles. As mentioned before, consumer today want to constantly stay informed. They want to get actively involved in the healthcare delivery process and wants healthcare providers to address their specific personal concerns.
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