At the beginning of 19001 the first experiments with "Telemedicine" made it possible to perform diagnostics without a doctor-patient encounter. In the year 2020, eHealth has become an integral part of healthcare and many professionals are enthusiastic about it (NICTIZ rapport, 2019). Nevertheless, the use of eHealth in healthcare practice in the Netherlands is disappointing. Reasons for this include unfamiliarity with the possibilities, lack of self-confidence and time to get started, fear for the loss of human care, and costs. In the year 2020, where we faced the consequences of COVID-19, citizens and professionals increasingly found their way to eHealth applications. My vision is that eHealth applications can make care and support better, more effective and more fun. The fact that human care remains necessary in this respect is no point of discussion in my opinion. What is at stake is how we can combine the two, so that we can continue to provide good care to the growing group of elderly and vulnerable people, both now and in the future.
eHealth Robot 2

What is eHealth anyway? It stands for electronics based applications to improve health. For health I use the definition of health formulated by Huber (2011): the ability to adapt and self-manage, in light of the physical, emotional and social challenges of life.
The term eHealth is still quite new, it was first described in literature in 1999 2. In addition to eHealth, terms such as Telemedicine, Telecare, ICT applications, M-Health, and Support Technology are also used. The electronic applications can be very diverse, from very simple applications (remote control) to more complex applications (robots).

Need advice on eHealth applications?

Our research shows that a number of conditions must be met if eHealth interventions are to be used successfully in practice. Examples are:
  • Development: already at an early stage in collaboration with various stakeholders: end users, care providers, developers, financiers.
  • User-friendly: easy and fun to use, not stigmatizing, reliable and stable. Possibly with assistance in starting up and maintaining the technology.
  • Usable: appropriate to the needs and wishes, a good solution to problems, proven effective.
  • Affordable: costs in relation to revenues, possibly reimbursement via health insurer or municipality, enabling equity.
  • Known: good information about the interventions and this information should be easy to find, such as information about different applications, effects, costs, how to purchase, etc. Sometimes training is needed to effectively use the eHealth applications and how to implement them in healthcare practice.