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What is e-Health?

We believe that e-health is an ideal descriptor for a collaborative, 'whole system' IT vision, the need for which is currently fast emerging throughout the UK. There are many examples of eHealth initiatives to be found throughout the UK.

Some national NHS examples include (July 2005):

  • In Wales the strategy is called Informing Healthcare
  • In Scotland there is the National eHealth/IM & T Strategy
  • In England there is Connecting for Health

We recognize that many currently evolving terms are included in e-health and examples of these terms - which might be more familiar to you or your project or interest include:



Tele-care, Tele-health

Telephone triage



Digital Xrays/image transfer

Computer Based Decision Support Systems

Multi-professional integrated e-pathways/e-records/EPRs/Care Records Service (CRS)

Distance learning via tele-conferencing/on-line

We have adopted the Four Pillars of e-Health (Richardson R 2000) as a model from which to develop a systems vision of e-health.

Web Based Education/Training Pillar  Pillar 1 : Web Based Education/CPD Pillar

Clinical Applications Pillar  Pillar 2 : Clinical Applications Pillar

Electronic Health Record/ICRS/EPR Pillar  Pillar 3 : NHS Care Record Pillar

Public Health Information Pillar  Pillar 4 : Public Health Information Pillar

The diagram below attempts to illustrate this all-inclusive approach:

Four Pillars of E-Health

The reason for the adoption of this emerging model is that it offers a user friendly framework for application and understanding of the inter-connected parts of e-health which may otherwise be functionally separated by the bullet point approach above. In each area of health care system patient contact all the pillars should be considered - the record, the applications associated with the generation of that record, the individual information the client needs to be an informed partner in care delivery - and importantly the learning that the care teams themselves need in order to implement, develop, evaluate and research the e-health pathway. Where are you in the model above?

The Network have developed the following powerpoint presentation which - as you click through it - illustrates our adaptation of the Four Pillars Model applied to a real patient pathway - and includes the associated eHealth Nurses Network vision

Click here to view The Vision Presentation (PDF)

We look forward to meeting you at the regional meetings - where the above model may be debated discussed and improved as we advance the practice of e-health. We are also keen to hear your thoughts and views - and where your practice sits in our model: Contact us

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