This site has been archived and is no longer being updated. You can visit the new RCN website at www.rcn.org.uk
Welcome to the RCN eHealth web pages
- what is eHealth?
- RCN eHealth position statement
- RCN strategy for eHealth
- RCN eHealth publications
- eHealth at work
- be part of an active eHealth community
- contact us.
The RCN defines eHealth as concerned with promoting, empowering and facilitating health and wellbeing with individuals, families and communities, and the enhancement of professional practice through the use of information management and information and communication technology (ICT).
There is more to eHealth than just technology. It is about finding, using, recording, managing, and transmitting information to support health care, in particular to make decisions about patient care. Computers (and other ICT devices) are merely the technology that enables this to happen.
The RCN's position on eHealth outlines the organisation's views on eHealth developments, benefits and challenges. The main points are listed below.
- The RCN welcomes the introduction of appropriate health IT systems and supports the overall aims and the direction of travel of health IT in all four countries of the UK.
- Health IT systems are now an integral part of professional nursing practice.
- Telehealth technology can be used to support people in their homes, and extend access to specialist services.
- Sharing information about patients across the health care service, subject to appropriate safeguards, is an integral part of nursing and multidisciplinary care.
- Nursing staff have a responsibility to ensure that they are aware of confidentiality and data protection legislation, local policies and professional guidance and do not abuse their privileged access to patient information.
- Personal health information systems allow patients online access to their own electronic health records to help them understand their health situation, make informed decisions about their care and treatment, and manage their own health.
- The RCN welcomes a high level of scrutiny in terms of how national IT programmes are managed.
The eHealth Position Statement is available from www.rcn.org.uk/publications
The RCN eHealth strategy has been developed with input from members and staff. It outlines the RCNs vision and objectives for eHealth, describes key eHealth messages and gives information on the RCN plans for implementing the strategy over the next few years. Download the RCN eHealth strategy and implementation plan 2011 - 2014 (PDF 136KB) for more information. [See how to access PDF files].
The Royal College of Nursing has published a series of publications on using technology to complement clinical practice. More information is available on the resources web page.
eHealth at work is a self contained package aimed at those with little or no knowledge of eHealth and covers electronic patient records, telehealth and online knowledge sources. Digital stories from patients and nurses are embedded in the package to provide additional understanding of the benefits of eHealth. Visit the resource.
The specialist membership group within the RCN concerned with eHealth is the eHealth Forum. Membership is open to all RCN members and is free.
The forum is set to act as a focal point at the RCN to support nurses and ensure that informatics/eHealth is seen as a core element of nursing care which impacts on every aspect of the care delivery process. Most importantly, the forum is providing a bedrock for expert advice in supporting the development of innovative RCN policy to support the future needs of nurses in the UK and beyond.
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