8 July 2006

Going online for health [International Herald Tribune]

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The costs of health care have gradually been passed along to the end user; more and more, the information needed to manage our health is within easy reach as well, on the Internet.

The European Union, for instance, last month opened Health-EU Portal, an Internet gateway to reams of data and references on topics from alcohol to toy safety.

In addition, the Google search engine now gives you an easy way to refine your results when you are seeking information on something as basic as headaches: on the resulting page of links, you can then choose to get other pointers sorted by treatment, symptoms or in categories like “from medical authorities” and “causes/risk factors.”

And a large consortium of technology companies, led by Intel and ranging from Philips and Samsung to IBM and Motorola. this month formed an alliance to figure out how to produce home health devices that communicate over the Internet using just one standard. They foresee a day when not just the costs and information but also the tools for managing health are in the hands of the patient.

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