This paper reviews some recent developments in the technology of the Internet, and shows how they may affect the way in which healthcare is provided. Starting with a brief technical history of the Internet, the paper discusses some of the technical developments that have taken place or been proposed in recent years, and speculates on the realities of their adoption within the next five years. The paper also discusses trends in public accessibility to the Internet and the development of Internet services. Finally, the impact of the technological developments on the way in which new healthcare services may be provided is discussed. Our conclusions are that the growth rate in Internet access and the improvements in performance resulting from the new technologies will make the Internet the focus of many new healthcare developments, in particular in the areas of telemedicine and in communication between patient and healthcare professionals. Increasingly, the Internet will be used to convey more 'real-time' information.
- Delivery of Health Care
- Health informatics