Information technology in health promotion

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Abstract

eHealth, the use of information technology to improve or enable health and health care, has recently been high on the health care development agenda. Given the vivid interest in eHealth, little reference has been made to the use of these technologies in the promotion of health. The aim of this present study was to conduct a review on recent uses of information technology in health promotion through looking at research articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Fifteen relevant journals with issues published between 2003 and June 2005 yielded altogether 1352 articles, 56 of which contained content related to the use of information technology in the context of health promotion. As reflected by this rather small proportion, research on the role of information technology is only starting to emerge. Four broad thematic application areas within health promotion were identified: use of information technology as an intervention medium, use of information technology as a research focus, use of information technology as a research instrument and use of information technology for professional development. In line with this rather instrumental focus, the concepts ‘ePromotion of Health’ or ‘Health ePromotion’ would come close to describing the role of information technology in health promotion.

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