Background: There is a growing interest concerning the potential of ICT solutions that are customized to consumers. This emerging discipline referred to as consumer health informatics (CHI) plays a major role in providing information to patients and the public, and facilitates the promotion of self-management.
The concept of CHI has emerged out of the desire of most patients to shoulder responsibilities regarding their health and a growing desire of health practitioners to fully appreciate the potential of the patient.
Aim: To describe the role of ICT in improving the patient-provider partnership in consumer health informatics.
Methods: Systematic reviewing of literature, identification of reference sources and formulation of search strategies and manual search regarding the significance of developed CHI applications in healthcare delivery.
Results: New consumer health IT applications have been developed to be used on a variety of different platforms, including the Web, messaging systems, PDAs, and cell phones. These applications assists patients with self-management through reminders and prompts, delivery of real-time data on a patient’s health condition to patients and providers, web-based communication and personal electronic health information.
Conclusion: New tools are being developed for the purposes of providing information to patients and the public which has enhanced decision making in health matters and an avenue for clinicians and consumers to exchange health information for personal and public use. This calls for corroboration among healthcare organizations, governments and the ICT industry to develop new research and IT innovations which are tailored to the health needs of the consumer.