Posted on November 7, 2014 by Kelly Kuru
Given that next week is Digital Health Week, I’ve been putting some thought around digital health and how it impacts my day-to-day life. Specifically, “what’s the value” and “how significant has the impact been?”
Wearing my ‘patient hat,’ I find that my idea of value comes down to achieving a growing feeling of empowerment and convenience from an industry not traditionally known for it. The ability to better track my health and wellness as a core member of my care team is paramount. From this realization, other questions follow... “What’s been accomplished to meet this need? Has digital health — all of the technology that allows us and our health care providers, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and others, to collect, share and manage our personal health information — started to answer the call?” From where I sit, the answer is without hesitation, yes!
Consider the following:
- Remote patient monitoring initiatives offer us new options for avoiding hospital stays or returning back to our homes more quickly, in a way that feels safe. Under the watchful eyes of remotely located clinicians who are monitoring vital signs, those managing a chronic condition such as congestive heart failure, can be continuously monitored to ensure they stay on a healthy path.
- E-booking hands us back some control in how we choose to book time with our care providers, making life’s ‘to-do’ list a little easier. Hair cut – check. Banking – check. Appointment with GP – check.
- E-visits enable us to securely interact with our health care providers from home just as we might via a consultation in their office. This provides a great alternative for many of the health inquiries we may want to pose to our providers. Have a simple question? Send it electronically rather than trudge into the office.
- And, health apps? With 100,000+ health apps in the marketplace, there are limitless ways to ensure that our health keeps pace with our busy lifestyles. In fact, apps created by health care organizations are becoming a mainstay. An app that helps me to manage my 3-year-old’s immunizations with his paediatrician? That’s one less thing on my plate — and every bit helps.
These tools, and more like them, are out there and available to us. It makes great sense for us to get involved and continue to push for innovation. As we continue on this journey, I encourage you to celebrate Digital Health Week with us and use it as an opportunity to reflect on the changing ways we can interact with our health care providers. I also hope you can join Canada Health Infoway and #hcsmca on Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. EST for a tweet chat on how digital health is transforming the patient experience.
The topics we will be discussing are:
- How can digital health help put patients at the centre of the care team?
- How can digital health make gaining access to care more convenient for patients and care givers?
- What tools do patients want to help them manage their care?
Have a comment about this post? We’d love to hear from you.
Kelly is passionate about the limitless potential digital health can bring to Canadians and their care providers. In her capacity as Director, Strategy & Services, Kelly promotes the positive effect diverse stakeholder collaboration can have towards advancing strategic digital health initiatives.