1. Perry, William MA, RN, Contributer

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The Internet has brought the spirit of global communication and collaboration to nurses and other healthcare professionals in ways never before thought possible. These resources are offered to expand your opportunities for discussion, reference, education and research.


I believe the Internet has blurred the boundaries of time zone and geography unlike any other application, device or tool. Telemedicine is making great strides in remote consultation, diagnosis and treatment. Computer based education is commonplace. Anytime, anywhere access to people and resources is becoming a norm.


Internet based, patient controlled healthcare information can extend the influence of the healthcare professional and potentially decrease or prevent emergency room visits for people with chronic diseases. Several online applications allow patients to record either condition specific information such as blood glucose or blood pressure measurements. Patients can create their own online personal health history for review by healthcare professionals of their choosing. This is a potentially life saving tool especially if illness occurs far from home or a spouse/significant other doesn't know the healthcare details of their partner.


Some of these tools are free, some fee based. It would not be difficult for an individual to create a personal health history and post it to their personal Internet site in a password protected area quite cheaply. Flash drives or credit card sized CD-ROMs offer another way to make the information portable and available with out Internet access.


All of these applications are essentially a database that an individual updates as necessary. HealthAtoZ ( offers a free family medical record and a variety of "trackers" to record fitness, osteoporosis, or pregnancy information. This is a URAC accredited website and they display the Health on the Net (HON) seal.


Some applications such as, and concentrate on specific problems and enable graphing of measurements and participation in a community of individuals with the same problem. By adding the oversight of healthcare professional potential complications could be avoided and appropriate intervention instituted early.


Fee based services such as Personal MD ( and WellMed (which will be replaced by the WebMD Health Manager offer a variety of information storage, tools and calculators, and a therapeutic community to users. Some insurance companies are providing these services and some physicians can enable patient access to an online medical record.


Those engaged in bedside care can tell lots of stories of forgotten critical pieces of health history that made care more difficult, longer, or even resulted in an adverse event. Can these tools help prevent that from happening?