Digital health is transforming the way Canadians access health care as more and more are able to view their personal health history online, connect with their care provider through a virtual setting, and e-book medical appointments. It has also changed workflows for clinicians who are able to pull up information about their patients as needed and whose patients may now be able to also access their health information.This has created some uncertainty and concerns — not always based on the facts — about what digital health means for Canadians as well as clinicians. We’d like to dispel some of these myths. Come back every week as we bust a new myth about digital health.
Myth: Myth of the Week Digital health is only for the young and tech savvy.
Fact: Canadians are very connected, including seniors. 88.5% of Canadian households have Internet access.
Digital health offers important opportunities for advancing care for seniors through programs such as telehomecare. In a study in which the average age of respondents was 75 to 84, 98.3% of telehomecare patients were satisfied with the program. Additionally, growth in the availability of digital health services for Canadians more than doubled between 2014 and 2016.
Source: Internet Live Stats: http://bit.ly/1WSWBPv. OTN Telehomecare Patient Experience Survey Summary, 2016. Connecting Patients for Better Health: 2016.
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Other Digital Health Myths
Myth: I won’t understand my lab results if I access them online because they are too complicated.
Fact: In a study, 76% of patients who first saw their lab results online were confident they understood the results.
The study also showed patients who view their results online are no more anxious than those who don’t. In fact, people with chronic conditions are less anxious when they get their results online. Timely access to lab test results is an important part of patient engagement and empowerment, which are directly linked to improved chronic disease management.
Source: Mák G, Smith Fowler H, Leaver C, Hagens S, Zelmer J, “The Effects of Web-Based Patient Access to Laboratory Results in British Columbia: A Patient Survey on Comprehension and Anxiety,” J Med Internet Res 2015;17(8):e191 DOI: 10.2196/jmir.4350