The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health promotion as “the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behavior toward a wide range of social and environmental interventions.”
Similarly, behavioral medicine is an interdisciplinary field of research and practice that focuses on how people's thoughts and behavior affects their health, including diseases. Behavioral medicine is concerned, for example, with undesirable behaviors such as drug abuse, and uses behavior therapy techniques such as biofeedback, relaxation training and hypnosis. Consumers and a wide array of health professionals are involved in behavioral medicine research and practice, including cardiologists, counselors, epidemiologists, exercise physiologist, family physicians, health educators, internists, nurses, nutritionists, pediatricians, psychiatrists and psychologists. Behavioral medicine takes a life-span approach to health and healthcare, working with children, teens, adults and seniors individually and in groups, and working with racially and ethnically diverse communities in the United States and abroad.
Changes in information technology and communication patterns are altering the delivery and practice of healthcare. Spurred on in part by new federal mandates, health providers across the country, including those in the SJV, are expanding their capacity to implement electronic medical records (EMR) and patient health records (PHRs). In addition, patients are rapidly adopting new communication and social media technologies to improve their healthcare. These changes are creating exciting opportunities to develop new ways to deliver healthcare in ways that give patients greater control over their medical and health records and more active involvement in their ongoing healthcare management.