How Digital Health Technology Helped My Family

As I sat in my family doctor’s office a few months ago for a follow-up, his computer screen caught my attention. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw what looked to be the TELUS logo. I smiled, because I am a bit familiar with TELUS.  My curiosity was piqued.

TELUS has always impressed me, with its customer care and great network (like that time when my husband could have died). I am aware of its many community initiatives and TELUS WISE, WeDay and even TELUS Health Tech which helps Canadians stay healthy and active using wearable tech. What I didn’t know was how TELUS played such a big role in healthcare using digital health technology.

I’m sure that like I was, many people are unaware of the strides TELUS is making in health. TELUS has invested $1.6B since 2000 to help bring Canadians better care by connecting doctors to patients, to other doctors, to pharmacists and even to insurance providers.

“In order to improve patient outcomes, better manage chronic diseases, enable self-care and help move patients from acute care facilities into their homes, TELUS offers multiple patient and consumer health platforms such as Home Health Monitoring (HHM) and Personal Health Records (PHRs).”

Living in Northern Ontario, I’ve recently become concerned for my aging parents whose health is declining. We live on an island hours away from the closest city centre. We do have hospitals and excellent physicians, but I worry about specialized healthcare being so far away.

This came to life for me very recently when my Mom became ill. Her doctor uses a TELUS EMR, but he also used TELUS’ Home Health Monitoring (HHM) technology and gave my mom a BlackBerry to monitor her heart.

“The HHM platform uses remote patient monitoring technology enabling patients with severe chronic diseases or conditions to monitor their blood pressure and other health factors from the comfort of their homes and share this information electronically with their physicians and other healthcare providers. Tracking the patients’ results on a regular basis, the healthcare team can adjust treatments as required. In the longer term, HHM provides guidance to patients in order to help them learn to live with their life-long conditions.”

She had two electrodes attached to her chest and the BlackBerry collected data and monitored her cardiac activity sending the information to doctors in Sudbury, Ontario so they could see what was happening. It absolutely amazes me that this is possible, not to mention how excited my mom was to explain how it all worked! Doctors can literally help their patients wherever they are. It gives me great peace of mind.

Nearly everyone has a health story to share about how technology helped them get better care, or how it could have. In a recent survey conducted by TELUS Health, 89 per cent of Canadians said they believed digital health technology will lead to better care and 85 per cent said the crave more digital health technology to better manage their health and they felt they were missing out on that tech. See more results here.

Witnessing my own family physician using this technology firsthand, and then my mom – I realized that the future of digital health is a bright. Being part of the sandwich generation, I also have my young child’s health to think about – and know that the technology will only improve as she grows up. We should all advocate for better healthcare with our doctors so using our smartphones for our personal health becomes as popular as using it for blogging and shopping.

What do you think? Weigh in by commenting above and joining @TELUSHealth on Twitter this Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 9 p.m. ET | 6 p.m. PT. for a chat about digital health with @YMCBuzz.

Also, be sure to check out these stories on how digital health tools affected the lives of five other Canadian families.