RE: E-health is empowerment health… or isn’t it?

In her blog Renske Visscher mentions how e-health can make clients less dependent. After a thought experiment with friends she concludes a side effect of the use of e-health makes clients more dependent on technology (another striking example of the innovation paradox).

For Renske, working daily on the development of e-health, it’s obvious that e-health can make people less dependent on healthcare professionals. I share her thoughts and in addition I think a paradigm shift is needed before we really are making clients less dependent. Inspired by her blog I’d like to make a start by elaborating on one of my current projects. By doing so I hope to start a debate about the fundamental use of e-health.

Dependent

Together with several organizations that provide social healthcare for people with a mental disability  I’m currently developing a project called JouwOmgeving.nl (Dutch for Your Space). JouwOmgeving.nl is an online private platform for clients which provides the opportunity to work on your goals and therapy independent from time, people and space. You can use tools which can give you insights in for example how to deal with your emotions, monitor your progress and work on your goals regarding behavioral change based on movies, exercises, reliable and uncomplicated information.

Social network

The platform offers the possibility to share your progress with you social network like your parents. By offering an account parents can get an update on what their child’s current goals are, how he or she works on it and what progress he or she makes. Parents can also get their own platform which can learn them how to deal with raising their disabled child. This way parents are empowered to take care of their child and makes their child even less dependent on healthcare. The intention is to offer the client the full ownership over the platform. After the professional care has stopped the clients remain access to their online platform and all of the information, exercises, tips and tricks.

Standard practice

In this way the platform forms an important addition to the regular face to face treatment. Every time I’m working on this platform I get more convinced that the use of some sort of JouwOmgeving should be standard practice within any behavioral treatment. This not meant to push the use of e-health but to promote and encourage independence and self-reliance. A responsibility we as healthcare professionals and innovators have to clients, their parents, the tax payer and the Minister who assigned us to provide the care that someone needs to be as independent as possible.

A blog by Wouter Wolters

Other blogs from Wouter Wolters:

Internet and the last man standing

Harnessing the shameless internet

Participatory innovation of e-health

You’re not the only one that cares

50 words to transform