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This book presents an evaluation framework for assessing the impact of the new media on the health care system by juxtaposing characteristics of emerging information and communication technologies (interactive, seamlessly connected, and user-driven) and health care objectives (to increase access, improve quality, and manage costs). Each chapter provides a unique set of tools and perspectives on how to harness these new media to improve individual health and the health care delivery system. This innovative volume has also stimulated the creation of a "Forum on Health and the New Media" on the World Wide Web ( The forum offers highlights of the book as well as links to the authors and related web sites.

The volume is divided into six sections as follows:
*The "Overview" juxtaposes characteristics of the new media (interactive, connected, and user-driven) with the three criteria for health care improvement: increased access, improved quality, and cost management. It offers a New Media and Health Care matrix of criteria for building and evaluating emerging health care systems.
*The "Delivery" -- how new media can enhance the delivery of health care -- includes chapters on: managed care, demand management and self-care, telemedicine for rural residents, and how the Internet can be used to facilitate collaboration among health researchers and providers.
*Health Information -- the life blood of health care -- addresses the potential for: extending the traditional flow of health information (from researchers to providers) to reach patients who want to share in decisions about their care; and the federal government's role in providing health information to the public.
*Health Education discusses: integrating multimedia health programming for public schools; using networked multimedia and simulation technologies and new learning theories that promise to transform public health education; and educating health providers and patients through interactive media and drama.
*Potholes Along the Highway provides a sobering balance to otherwise rather optimistic assumptions that a national information infrastructure will be forthcoming.
*The New Media: Annotated Glossary provides computing and networking technology tools for readers who are not fluent in cyberlanguage.

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