Health care systems in many developed countries are rapidly approaching a crisis point. The reasons are an aging population, a shrinking number of workers, health care costs increasing faster than the economy, expensive new treatment options, poor public finances, and the reducing pool of health care professionals. The problem is compounded by the fact that elderly are more often affected by chronic diseases which require ongoing, often expensive, treatment. Telehealth and telecare applications are rapidly gaining in popularity because of their promise to use existing health care resources more effectively and hence to lower costs. However, usage is limited by a design often centered around the requirements of the clinical user, healthcare provider, and the equipment vendor. Many existing systems suffer from high initial costs, cannot be extended by third parties, require extra costs to add new functionalities, and are designed to create a continuing revenue source for the vendor. Furthermore the systems are usually designed to manage diseases rather than prevent them, and do not address the social and psychological needs of the patient. In this paper we critically analyse existing consumer health informatics systems and propose a framework for overcoming the identified shortcomings. The proposed system is ubiquitous, extendable by third parties, contains social aspects, and puts the user in control. Evidence from related research suggests that the design will increase motivation and participation, encourage family and social support, and improve the recording of health parameters by reducing user resistance.