It is not possible to consider current and future opportunities for health care in the computer and information technologies without considering the role of the Internet in American life. While the rise of the Internet in society provided the foundation for the increasing role of the Internet in health and health care, there is growing realization that the growing role of the Internet in health and health care is not only changing the nature of health care, but also, in several ways, fundamentally changing the way we live in society. Undoubtedly, these societal changes will have significant implications for the personalized, community-based healthcare system of the future. Because of the pervasiveness of the impact of the Internet and because these changes are and will continue to impact health and health care, this chapter will briefly discuss the role of the Internet in society today.
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