How can emerging technologies improve patient health?

TELUS Health McGillIt is with great pleasure that I would like to share the news of the TELUS Health partnership with McGill University. We have joined forces with one of the top universities in Canada to figure out a way to ultimately improve the lives of patients living with chronic disease. Our common objective is to find the most effective way of using technology to not only improve the health of patients but also to change the way in which healthcare is delivered to Canadians.

Our population is aging; more and more Canadians are being diagnosed with complex and chronic diseases. We feel that it is important to apply our approach to innovation and technology to the current situation of our healthcare system. For example, according to The College of Family Physicians of Canada, chronic cardiovascular disease affects over three million Canadians.

We have seen the evolution of ehealth initiatives in recent years and there have been numerous success stories that demonstrate how health information technologies are positively changing the face of the healthcare system. In a recent study published last week by the Canada Health Infoway, the switch to electronic medical records has saved the Canadian medical system $1.6 billion over the last six years. According to the Fraser Institute, total health spending in Canada reached $200 billion in 2011. Imagine how ehealth could help reduce the economic burden for Canadians.

Through this partnership, the outcome of our first study will be important for patients with chronic cardiovascular disease, because they are required to make frequent visits, often daily, to a clinic or hospital. We want to explore if the use of home care devices to monitor their treatment will be an improvement. We know that what was once only available in a hospital or clinic is now available in the comfort of a patient’s home. This will not only account for improved efficiencies in our healthcare delivery, but patients can also remain independent and healthy while taking accountability for managing their own disease.

This partnership is our second initiative with a medical institution. A year ago, we entered a three-year partnership with the University of Alberta, this time, with the objective of funding research on developing a Consumer Health Technology Innovation Living Laboratory Community. In only a year, we have already observed several positive results. The majority of clinicians that participated in a pilot study (72%) felt it increased patient’s awareness of their health conditions and resulted in better self-management. Over half (57%) also felt that it increased effective communication and resulted in more timely delivery of health services.

We’re confident that the results of these key top research partnerships, as well as others in the works, will shape how technology is used to make a difference in patient care not only today, but in the future.

I am extremely proud of everyone and their efforts for helping these partnerships materialize. I am thrilled to be a part of a team of such motivated and dedicated individuals. Keep up all the great work!

Warm regards,

Paul Lepage