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OECD Internet Economy Outlook 2012

image of OECD Internet Economy Outlook 2012

The Internet is now a fundamental infrastructure supporting the economy and is firmly in its 2nd stage of development, having evolved from a data network connecting PCs with wires to a much broader network of new portable devices from mobile phones to tablet computers. It is also on the cusp of a much larger expansion to objects that typically did not have communications capabilities: the “Internet of things” is projected to have more connections than the people using them. This raises many important socio-economic and political issues for stakeholders to consider, as economies and societies become increasingly inter-meshed.

Supported by time series data, this publication begins with an overview of trends and highlights how the Internet sector has proven to be resilient during the recent economic crisis. It then examines the various drivers and impacts of Internet use and deployment, as well as emerging technologies, broadband, e-commerce, e-health, digital content, security and privacy, and reflects on a methodology for measuring the Internet economy.

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ICTs for health and ageing

This chapter examines recent trends in information and communication technologies for health and ageing. The use of ICTs in the health sector still lags behind many other parts of the economy in most OECD countries, yet the advantages and potential savings are evident. The ability of health ICTs to deliver better health in addition to an economic growth dividend is motivating significant public investment. Most efforts in recent years have focused on fostering the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) by general practitioners and in hospitals. But the potential applications for health extend well beyond EHRs. Telehealth is increasingly seen as an important tool for enhancing healthcare delivery, particularly in rural and remote areas where healthcare resources and expertise are often scarce or even non-existent. Mobile health applications and social networks also provide unique and unprecedented opportunities for empowering patients and addressing the growing needs of ageing populations. Without question, there are challenges ahead in the evolution of the ICT health ecosystem. As business models change, the issues of privacy, security and quality of service are becoming increasingly important. Continued commitments to broadband, open standards and interoperability are essential for successful change.

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