eHealth: Ireland’s approach to medicine in the digital age
Over the last decade, Ireland has experienced tremendous growth. Its gross domestic product (GDP) has more than doubled, the population has grown by a startling 20%, and spending on public healthcare has tripled. Such enormous progress was largely attributed to Ireland’s burgeoning information and communications technology (ICT) sector. This nascent technological engine spurred massive advances in almost all aspects of Irish life. However, the traditionally conservative field of medicine was not so readily swept forward. While 70% of all Irish households had a computer by 2008, only 58.5% of all single GP practices were equipped with a computer, the second lowest percentage of any EU country. Such aversion to change is characteristic of medicine’s inherent conservatism, which tries to protect patients from the potential harm of untested and unproven theories. However, this conservatism can, and has, come at a cost to patients, with pioneering advances being unnecessarily resisted or ignored. In the 1700s, Dr Lind’s treatment for scurvy was discounted, in the 1800s Dr Semmelweis’ passionate arguments for hand washing were resisted, and in the 1900s Dr Fleming’s discovery of penicillin was initially dismissed. Now in the 21st century we face our own test with accepting innovation, as technology entwines itself further with the domain of healthcare, creating a new hybrid entity known as ‘eHealth’.
CommentsThe original article is available at http://www.rcsismj.com/ Part of the RCSIsmj collection: https://doi.org/10.25419/rcsi.c.6764532.v1
Published CitationKapur A. eHealth: Ireland’s approach to medicine in the digital age. RCSIsmj. 2011;4(1):70-73
- Undergraduate Research
PublisherRCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences
- Published Version (Version of Record)