Posted on October 29, 2014 by Justin Noble
As I was celebrating the recent Thanksgiving weekend, I was reminded of how much comfort can be derived from being at home among loved ones and familiar surroundings. It seems only natural that Canadians would want to be able to enjoy the comforts and benefits of home during their health care journey.
Indeed, Canadians have indicated that remaining in their home to receive care is their most appealing option. To make this a reality for more Canadians, Canada Health Infoway has been working on a number of fronts to bring care closer to home. These will be detailed in three sessions at the upcoming Canadian Home Care Association’s (CHCA) 2014 Home Care Summit in Banff, AB, November 3-5.
Digital health will play a crucial part in enabling top-quality care to be delivered at home. To name but a few home care-enabling solutions:
- E-visits with clinicians, whether by video in real-time or with secure messaging
- Renewing or refilling prescriptions electronically, saving a visit or phone call to the doctor’s office when it isn’t necessary
- Remote patient monitoring, where data is transmitted electronically so care providers and patients can work together to maintain and improve health
Encouragingly, we’ve seen progress in all of these areas:
- E-visits with clinicians have become more popular, as has the practice of allowing patients to renew prescriptions online, as more solutions have become available that make this possible. A number of health organizations have been challenged to increase the use of these solutions through the e-Connect Impact Challenge
- About half of Canadians who were able to electronically consult with their physicians, access test results, and renew prescriptions said they avoided an in-person visit to a health care provider in the last year. A study by the Conference Board of Canada found that, if all Canadians had access to these services, nearly 47 million visits to health care providers could be avoided each year.
- A recent pan-Canadian study of remote patient monitoring (RPM) outlined the key success factors for these programs, and noted the potential of RPM to achieve significant cost avoidance.
At the CHCA conference, Infoway leaders will discuss the impacts of these solutions and the way forward in using them to bring care closer to home.
Much has been done, but there are further opportunities to leverage digital health to provide Canadians the high-quality care they need in the setting they prefer. With continued innovation in the area of consumer health technology, that reality becomes closer.
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Justin is dedicated to putting digital health to work for clinicians and patients in order to improve health outcomes and the patient experience. In his role leading projects for Infoway’s Consumer Health and Innovation program, he has worked with innovative clinical and technology teams across the country.