This book deals with issues of growing importance in both the US health care system and health care systems across the world. Such systems need to respond to changes in technology within health care, shifting technologies not specific to health care, and changes in the way patients and physicians view health and view the use of health services in society.
Chapters focus on how new technologies and programs apply to either general groups within the health care system (patients, certain types of doctors) or more specialized groups, such as people with a certain health care problem. Papers deal with a wide variety of topics, from a focus on consumers and the varying roles they play in the emerging and changing US health care system, to the examination of specific principles such as social network approaches and how they can be applied to the examination of patient-provider roles. Papers also incorporate the application of specific technological innovations within medicine, such as the impact of telemedicine or of computer tools and knowledge coupling on the delivery of health care. In terms of specific diseases, health problems and health settings, papers cover issues of mental illness, cancer, arthritis and traumatic injuries and focus on community care settings, hospitals and nursing homes.