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EMR Adoption and Patient Empowerment Among Top Digital Health Successes for 2014

Posted on January 20, 2015 by Shelagh Maloney

January is tough! It’s back to work after the holidays, the weather is lousy and I’m faced with the guilt that I’ve never made a resolution that I’ve kept for more than a week – except for the year that I resolved not to make any resolutions!

About the only thing I like about January are the lists. There’s nothing better than sitting in front of the fire in sweatpants, bag of chips in hand (hence no resolutions), reading top ten lists — best movies, biggest celebrities, hottest gadgets.

That got me thinking — what would make my personal top ten digital health list? This blog isn’t long enough for a full top ten but I think my top two digital health successes for 2014 would be EMR adoption and patient engagement/empowerment.

The 2014 National Physician Survey (NPS) results that were published in December reported a significant increase in the number of physicians who are using technology to manage their patients’ health. Nationally, 77 per cent of Canadian primary care physicians now use community-based electronic medical records (up from 24 per cent in 2007) — this is significant progress! And it doesn’t stop there: Use of digital tools used other than EMRs is also on the rise, the most frequent is the access to lab/diagnostic test results — 80% compared to 38% in 2010.

And this transformation doesn’t stop with the physician.

2014 for me will also be remembered as the year that the “patient movement” really gained significant traction. Rather than paying lip service to patients and merely using terms such as patient-centred care, I think we’ve finally turned the corner. Today we see patients supporting change at hospitals, providing insight on digital health investments and sharing their stories to help Canadians understand the value and benefit of digital health.

Patients are our primary partners and our main focus should be to improve their experience. Through Infoway’s Better Health Together public education campaign I’ve met dozens of patients who have been positively impacted by digital health. They are an articulate, engaged group who have been empowered through the use of digital tools to become more active members of their health teams.

What would you include on the list?

Pass the chips…

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Shelagh MaloneyShelagh Maloney is responsible for managing key stakeholder relationships at Infoway, including those with patients, clinicians and the federal government, as well as the standards community. She is also responsible for performance analytics and coordinating and executing communication and marketing efforts in support of Infoway products and services.

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