Chronic disease, geographic location and socioeconomic disadvantage as obstacles to equitable access to e-health
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Despite recent public attention to e-health as a solution to rising healthcare costs and an ageing population, there have been relatively few studies examining the geographical pattern of e-health usage. This paper argues for an equitable approach to e-health and attention to the way in which e-health initiatives can produce locational health inequalities, particularly in socioeconomically disadvantagedareas. In this paper, we use a case study to demonstrate geographical variation in Internet accessibility, Internet status and prevalence of chronic diseases within a small district. There are significant disparities in access to health information within socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. The most vulnerable people in these areas are likely to have limited availability of, or access to Internet healthcare resources.They are also more likely to have complex chronic diseases and, therefore, be in greatest need of these resources. This case study demonstrates the importance of an equitable approach to e-health information technologies and telecommunications infrastructure.
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