We’re passionate about using information for healthcare innovation – especially when it leads to better health outcomes for Canadians. We know that encouraging people to be proactively involved in their own health and providing them with simple, seamless access to care is the best way to support some of the big changes needed in Canadian healthcare.
With the annual e-Health Conference coming to Toronto in 2015, there are three trends I think you will see being widely discussed as the core elements to shape the future of digital health in Canada.
- Collaboration for Better Care
There are many benefits to having an electronic medical record (EMR) – vaccination history, test results, hospital stays – all of your important medical history available to any healthcare professional you visit, at any time. EMRs can greatly improve your quality of care and overall health outcomes, and are one of the ways Canadians are able to experience the benefits of healthcare collaboration and connectivity.
Helping to drive this collaboration are programs like eHealth Ontario’s connectingGTA (cGTA) which has designed and piloted a seamless, connected network of healthcare services for more than six million people in central Ontario.
- Pharmacists Offer More
Over the past few years, new laws in Canada have helped expand the role of pharmacists and have given them a more active role in providing direct patient care. You may already go to your local pharmacist for your flu shot, but did you know they can also help you quit smoking, give advice on managing chronic illnesses like diabetes, and in some cases, refill your prescription and help you avoid an unnecessary visit to the doctor?
As digital health continues to evolve and expand, so will the role of pharmacists. They are an important piece of the personalized care puzzle and for many of us, our only point of contact for medication advice and treatment. With a complete medical history available through an EMR, pharmacists can provide helpful advice outside of a doctor’s office, leading to fewer drug-related emergency room visits.
- The Future is Now for Home-Based Health Care
Many Canadians are not able to easily access a doctor or specialist because of where they live, or because of transportation difficulties, like not being able to drive.
In 2014, Canadians avoided an estimated 238 million kilometers worth of travel through telemedicine – a system that gives doctors access to data and allows them to provide real-time care remotely, in a way that has never been possible before. Providing comfortable and easy care to those who need it the most isn’t new to the digital health space. Innovations like Home Health Monitoring already exist, enabling those with chronic diseases like heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to have ongoing and direct access to their care providers and monitor their health – for example, their blood pressure, weight and heart rate – from the comfort of their own home.
Programs like these are committed to bringing quality health services to all Canadians – no matter where you live. As a result of collaboration between leaders in technology and healthcare professionals, the future of remote care will increasingly help with chronic disease management, and improve health outcomes for patients across Canada.
We’re really looking forward to attending the e-Health Conference this year and contributing to the conversation around the future of digital health innovation in Canada. If you plan to be there, what topics are you most excited to hear/learn about? Comment above or tweet us @TELUSHealth using #ehealth15.