Digital Health Week 2022 — Celebrating Connected Care

By Shelagh Maloney

Welcome to Digital Health Week 2022! Now in its eighth year, Digital Health Week (November 14-20, 2022) is a time to celebrate the cumulative progress that we’ve made in providing a safer, more accessible and efficient health system for patients, families, caregivers and providers.

As the health system continues to experience unprecedented strain, continuing this progress is more important than ever — digital health improves the patient experience, improves the clinician experience and helps us realize health system efficiencies.

Virtual medical consultations, electronic delivery of prescriptions and remote monitoring of patients — especially those who are frail and elderly — are excellent examples of how digital health innovation is transforming care. These initiatives result in improved patient satisfaction, provide a more person-centric experience and result in better overall health outcomes. A case in point: Joy from Newfoundland explains that, for her, remote patient monitoring “…was instrumental in teaching me how to recognize and treat my condition and, better yet, how to avoid having symptoms altogether.”

Among Canadians who experienced virtual care in 2021:

  • 91 per cent said it saved them time and money
  • 90 per cent were satisfied with their virtual care experience
  • 82 per cent reported they can better manage their health as a result
  • 81 per cent of respondents avoided an in-person visit

Digital health enables a more connected system, in which Canadians have more timely and secure access to their health information. When Canadians can access and control their own electronic health data, they can make more informed decisions about their care and better manage their health. An Infoway/University of British Columbia study published in 2019 showed that patients who had access to their health information were more knowledgeable about their condition, more confident in the care they received and reported having better relationships with their clinician(s).

Similarly, digital health can improve the clinician experience. Siloed data, difficulty communicating across care settings and inefficient workflows all impede clinicians’ ability to deliver timely and effective care. By ensuring that the right data is available in the right place, at the right time, they’ll have better access to the information they need to make timely care decisions, and to more efficiently collaborate and share information across the circle of care.

Addressing these data access and information flow issues will save millions of hours of clinician time. These time savings will enable clinicians to focus on the quality and delivery of care, rather than chasing information and responses across the health system. As such, addressing these issues can help mitigate factors relating to health workforce burnout and attrition.

Clinicians recognize the benefits of a more connected health system:

  • 92 per cent agree that connected care would enable safer patient care
  • 88 per cent agree that it would improve the ability to collaborate and coordinate care with other health care providers outside their practice
  • 86 per cent agree that it would reduce redundant administrative tasks
  • 85 per cent agree that it would increase productivity

Finally, the widespread, secure collection, sharing and use of health information realizes system efficiencies by reducing duplicate testing, assisting faster decision-making and enabling a pan-Canadian approach that eliminates the need for each jurisdiction to address issues on their own.

The result: a higher-performing health system with improved health outcomes that Canadians can be proud of and confident in, one that stands up to international peers. Working together, we can realize a world-class, modernized health system that puts Canadians at the centre of their care and gives them, and their care team, the tools and data they need to better understand and manage their health. Now, that’s worth celebrating!


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About the author
Shelagh Maloney

Shelagh Maloney

Shelagh Maloney manages relationships with patients, clinicians and the federal government, and leads performance analytics and communications and marketing. She has held a number of executive positions in the public and private sectors, where she honed her relationship management and business development skills.