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Location-based health information services: a new paradigm in personalised information delivery

International Journal of Health Geographics
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1476-072x-2-2
  • Review
  • Medicine


Brute health information delivery to various devices can be easily achieved these days, making health information instantly available whenever it is needed and nearly anywhere. However, brute health information delivery risks overloading users with unnecessary information that does not answer their actual needs, and might even act as noise, masking any other useful and relevant information delivered with it. Users' profiles and needs are definitely affected by where they are, and this should be taken into consideration when personalising and delivering information to users in different locations. The main goal of location-based health information services is to allow better presentation of the distribution of health and healthcare needs and Internet resources answering them across a geographical area, with the aim to provide users with better support for informed decision-making. Personalised information delivery requires the acquisition of high quality metadata about not only information resources, but also information service users, their geographical location and their devices. Throughout this review, experience from a related online health information service, HealthCyberMap , is referred to as a model that can be easily adapted to other similar services. HealthCyberMap is a Web-based directory service of medical/health Internet resources exploring new means to organise and present these resources based on consumer and provider locations, as well as the geographical coverage or scope of indexed resources. The paper also provides a concise review of location-based services, technologies for detecting user location (including IP geolocation), and their potential applications in health and healthcare.

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