How and when eHealth is a good investment for patients managing chronic disease

Healthc Manage Forum. 2011 Autumn;24(3):122-36. doi: 10.1016/j.hcmf.2011.07.006.
[Article in English, French]


In this article, we elaborate on the cost-effectiveness of eHealth solutions and the need to evaluate the return on investment as is done routinely with all other major expenditures. To this end, we discuss the theory that exists today to explain some of the usage principles affiliated with information technology implementation in healthcare; namely, we reflect on the Technology Adoption Criteria in Health (TEACH) model and Wagner's Chronic Disease Management model. The basic premise of the TEACH model is that adoption requires work; this work must be recognized at the outset, and the progress to overcome the workload increase must be measured for the adoption to continue. Furthermore, both of these models have emphasized that the trade-off between cost and work and the benefits realized (as seen through measurement) must first be applied to patients that use the system frequently and on an ongoing basis (ie, the chronically ill). We refer to these ongoing users as consumers of healthcare resources-Consumers with Chronic Conditions (the 3C patients). In this article, we show that the benefits outweigh the costs only when we do, in fact, apply the analysis to 3C patients. Once an effective eHealth system has been developed for the 3C patients, then it can be straightforwardly extended to include all patients and other stakeholders.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics / economics*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Self Care*
  • Telemedicine / economics*