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The chapter is organized around four analytical themes, all of which stem from the fact that the Internet has given a large portion of the general public and most healthcare professionals an opportunity to gain medical and health information and communication resources. Anticipatory of and reactive to the opportunity that is created by the social interaction between health information technology and participant desires, (1) there has been substantial resource commitment resulting in the creation of many useful centralized services (some commercial, some governmental); (2) however, despite their utility, perceived and actual inadequacies of these services have stimulated disparate groups to organize their own compensatory, decentralized and local networks of health information resources. In both centralized and decentralized Internet health resources, though, there are still many issues to be resolved, such as (3) reconfiguring physician/patient relationships in light of new technology, and (4) creating socially sensitive e-health services that are also socially equitable in terms of accessibility.

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