Posted on May 31, 2016 by Shelagh Maloney
Digital health technologies have the potential to transform the patient experience and improve patient outcomes — but to do so, they need to be designed with the patient in mind. This is why engaging with consumers and patients is a vital part of what we do here at Infoway.
We developed a patient engagement framework to help us understand and connect with Canadians. The framework has four basic components: listen, amplify, invest and influence:
- Listen — Listening to the needs and perspectives of Canadians is imperative to ensuring Infoway spends its time and resources wisely. One of the major ways in which Infoway does this is through our annual survey of Canadians. We ask questions to better understand Canadians’ attitudes toward, and perceptions and expectations of digital health.
- Amplify — We amplify the voice of patients and patient advocates in many ways. For example, Infoway’s public education campaign, Better Health Together, amplifies what we heard from Canadians through our surveys and other listening tactics. Consumers tell us they are most interested in e-booking, e-visits, e-renewals (for prescriptions) and e-views (i.e., online access to their health records, such as lab results). The Better Health Together campaign highlights the benefits of these patient online solutions and showcases stories of patients who are already benefiting from these services. We work in partnership with jurisdictions, professional health associations and patient advocacy groups to spread the message. Planning is already underway for Digital Health Week 2016 from November 14-20. During the week, patients, health care providers, jurisdictions and associations will once again come together to celebrate digital health progress in Canada.
- Invest — In 2010, Infoway established a Consumer Health Strategy to put digital health tools in the hands of patients and empower them to be more active members of their care teams. The initiatives are designed to get patients online (e-booking, e-visits, e-renewals and e-views) as well as keep them at home through telehomecare (also known as remote patient monitoring). Telehomecare is the electronic transmission of patient data (e.g., symptoms, vital signs) from a patient’s home to his/her health care provider for monitoring and support, enabling health teams to intervene before a change in a patient’s condition becomes critical. The federal government recently allocated $50 million in funding over two years to Infoway to support telehomecare and e-prescribing.
- Influence — Infoway looks to influence the consumer health agenda through a variety of means, including: research and evaluation, knowledge translation, empowering patients, informing policy decisions and supporting change management. All of Infoway’s investment programs include a benefits evaluation plan to enable an objective assessment of how well the project met its goals. In addition, pan-Canadian studies and white papers on such topics as telehomecare and e-booking have helped demonstrate the effectiveness of these technologies and contributed to their uptake.
Communicating with the Canadian public is important and this framework has been valuable in guiding our public outreach and engagement efforts.
Now it’s time to listen again…tell us what you think of our patient engagement framework.
Have a comment about this post? We’d love to hear from you.
Shelagh Maloney is responsible for driving the implementation and adoption of patient-centred digital health solutions and patient engagement activities. She oversees evaluation efforts that measure the benefits of digital health investments in Canada and leads the development and execution of all of Infoway’s communications and marketing efforts.