Introduction to Consumer Health Informatics and Digital Inclusion

  • M. Christopher GibbonsEmail author
  • Yahya Shaikh


Consumer health informatics emerged in an effort to better address consumers’ articulated needs with managing their health concerns. Although developers initially focused on developing stand-alone tools, devices, and platforms, widespread deployment and adoption of broadband networks is enabling the creation of consumer health ecosystems that work automatically in the background to support patient needs. To ensure universal benefit from these tools, it will be important to maximize broadband deployment and adoption, enhance the design of emerging systems, and address privacy and security concerns. As this occurs, consumer health informatics tools will help create a radically different future healthcare system that will improve health outcomes and substantially reduce health disparities in ways that were not previously possible.


Consumer technology Digital health mHealth Social media Telehealth Smart cities Smart cars Smart homes Broadband Internet of things (IoT) Future of healthcare Health information technology (HIT) Radio-frequency identification (RFID) Chronic disease self-management Health disparities 


  1. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). (2016). 2015 National healthcare quality and disparities report and 5th anniversary update on the national quality strategy.
  2. American Association of Medical Colleges. (2010, June 1). Physician shortages to worsen without increases in residency training.
  3. Anderson and Perrin (2018) 13% of Americans don’t use the internet. Who are they?
  4. Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services (ASPE). (2016). Report to congress: EHealth and telemedicine.
  5. Bauer, U. E., Briss, P. A., Goodman, R. A., & Bowman, B. A. (2014). Prevention of chronic disease in the 21st century: Elimination of the leading preventable causes of premature death and disability in the USA. Lancet, 384(9937), 45–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beckles, G., & Chou, C. F. (2013). Diabetes—United States, 2006 and 2010. MMWR Supplements, 62(3), 99–104.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Boulware, L. E., Cooper, L. A., Ratner, L. E., LaVeist, T. A., & Powe, N. R. (2003). Race and trust in the health care system. Public Health Reports, 118(4), 358–365.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buerhaus, P. I. (2008). Current and future state of the nursing workforce. Journal of the American Medical Association, 300(20), 2422–2424. PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Casagrande, S. S., Gary, T. L., LaVeist, T. A., Gaskin, D. J., & Cooper, L. A. (2007). Perceived discrimination and adherence to medical care in a racially integrated community. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22(3), 389–395.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dall, T., West, T., Chakrabarti, R., & Iacobucci, W. (2015). The complexities of physician supply and demand: Projections from 2015 to 2025. Washington, DC: IHS.Google Scholar
  11. Deloitte. (2013). Physician adoption of Health Information Technology: Implications for medical leaders and business partners. Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.
  12. Irizarry, T., DeVito Dabbs, A., Curran, C. R. (2015). Patient Portals and Patient Engagement: A State of the Science Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research (6):e148. 26104044
  13. Eysenbach, G. (2001). What is e-health? Journal of Medical Internet Research, 3(2), E20.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Federal Communications Commission. (2010, March 17). Connecting America: The national broadband plan. Washington, DC. Retrieved from:
  15. Fox, S., & Duggan, M. (2012). Mobile Health 2012. Pew Research Center, Internet and Technology.
  16. Frank, S. (2000). Digital Health Care: The convergence of health care and the Internet. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 23(2), 8–17.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gibbons, M. C. (2011). Use of Health Information Technology among Racial and Ethnic Underserved Communities. Perspectives in Health Information Management. 8(Winter). Published online.
  18. Gibbons, M. C., & Hoyt, R. E. (2014). Consumer health informatics (Chapter 10). In R. E. Hoyt & A. K. Yoshihashi (Eds.), Health information: Practical guide for healthcare and IT professionals (6th ed.). Pensacola, FL: Informatics Education.Google Scholar
  19. Gibbons, M. C., Fleisher, L., Slamon, R. E., Bass, S., Kandadai, V., & Beck, J. R. (2011). Exploring the potential of Web 2.0 to address health disparities. Journal of Health Communications, 16(Suppl 1), 77–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gibbons, M. C., Wilson, R. F., Samal, L., Lehman, C. U., Dickersin, K., Lehmann, H. P., … Bass, E. B. (2009). Impact of consumer health informatics applications. Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep), (188), 1–546.Google Scholar
  21. Gillespie, C. D., Wigington, C., & Hong, Y. (2013). Coronary heart disease and stroke deaths—United States, 2009. MMWR Supplements, 62(3), 157–160.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Howden, L. M., & Meyer, J. A. (2012). Age and sex composition 2010:2010 Census brief #C2010BR-03.
  23. Institute of Medicine. (2003). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Washington DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kalra, A. D., Fisher, R. S., & Axelrod, P. (2010). Decreased length of stay and cumulative hospitalized days despite increased patient admissions and readmissions in an area of urban poverty. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 25(9), 930–935.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kaplan, M. (Ed.). (2004). Cultural ergonomics, Advances in human performance and cognitive engineering research. New York, NY: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  26. Korzenny, F., & Vann, L. (2009). Tapping into their connections: The multicultural world of social media marketing. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication.Google Scholar
  27. LaVeist, T. A., Isaac, L. A., & Williams, K. P. (2009). Mistrust of health care organizations is associated with underutilization of health services. Health Services Research, 44(6), 2093–2105.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. LaVeist, T. A., Nickerson, K. J., & Bowie, J. V. (2000). Attitudes about racism, medical mistrust, and satisfaction with care among African American and white cardiac patients. Medical Care Research and Review, 57(Suppl 1), 146–161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lin Goh, J. P. (2015). Privacy, Security and wearable techology. Landslides, 8(2), 1–8.Google Scholar
  30. MacDorman, M. F., & Mathews, T. J. (2013). Infant deaths—United States, 2005-2008. MMWR Supplements, 62(3), 171–175.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Mansfield, M. (1987). Recognizing ergonomics variations: Human factors in technology transfer to newly industrializing countries. Journal of Technology Transfer, 11(2), 19–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Manhattan Research. (2010). Cybercitizen health v9.0. New York, NY: Manhattan Research.Google Scholar
  33. Marchibroda, J. (2014). Health policy brief: Interoperability. Health Affairs.
  34. National Research Council. (2011). Healthcare comes home: The human factors. Washington DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  35. Norman, C. D., & Skinner, H. A. (2006). eHealth literacy: Essential skills for consumer health in a networked world. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 8(2), e9.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2017). Health IT dashboard: Quick stats. Retrieved 2 July, 2017, from
  37. Shrestha, L. B., & Heisler, E. J. (2011). The changing demographic profile of the United States. Congressional Research Service.
  38. Slabodkin, G. (2016). AMA CEO calls digital products modern-day ‘snake oil’.
  39. Smailhodzic, E., Hooijsma, W., Bonstra, A., & Langley, D. J. (2016). Social media use in healthcare: A systematic review of effects on patients and their relationships with healthcare professionals. BMC Health Services Research, 16, 422. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Television Bureau of Advertising. (n.d.) TV basics.
  41. Tuckson, R., Edmunds, M., & Hodgkins, M. (2017). Telehealth. The New England Journal of Medicine, 377, 1585–1592. PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. United States Census Bureau (DATE). (2012). Projections show a slower growing, older, more diverse nation a half centrury from now.
  43. Valdez, R. S., Gibbons, M. C., Siegel, E. R., Kukafka, R., & Brennan, P. F. (2012). Designing consumer health IT to enhance usability among different racial and ethnic groups within the United States. Health and Technology, 2(4), 225–233. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ward, B. W., & Schiller, J. S. (2013). Prevalence of multiple chronic conditions among US adults: Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2010. Preventing Chronic Disease, 10, E65.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Weiser, M. (1991, September). The computer for the 21st century. Scientific American, 94–103. Retrieved from CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Weissman, J. S., & Zinner, M. (2013). Comparative effectiveness on robotic surgery. JAMA, 309(7), 721–722. PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zickuhr, K., & Smith, A. (2012). Digital differences. Washington DC: Pew Internet and American Life Project, Pew Charitable Trusts Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and The Greystone Group, Inc.Washington, DCUSA

Personalised recommendations