Digital Health Transformation

Like many other aspects of our lives, our health and health care are going through a digital transformation.

As we all become more accustomed to conducting business online, such as banking and shopping, we should also be prepared to manage our health digitally. Digital health is another step in our online evolution.

Digital health can be defined in several ways:

• As a means for individuals to better track, manage and improve their own health.
• As a way to support efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle.
• As a way for healthcare providers to reduce inefficiencies and lower costs.
• As a means to improve healthcare delivery, and increase quality.
• As a means to make medicine more personalized and precise.

Digital health can be as simple as contacting your doctor via a secure messaging service, or booking an appointment online. It can also be as valuable as being able to look at your health history without booking an appointment or to easily provide your health records to practitioners to achieve better health outcomes.

Transforming Health Care

Canadians want access to their health information and are eager to be involved in their health care. Day to day health care and hospital care are being transformed in a positive way, as digital health improves patient outcomes. Citizens are ready to have access to their health information, which allows them to be engaged members of their care team.

Let’s look at two ways that digital health can be used to benefit citizens.

1. Electronic Health Records

One of the most powerful applications of digital health is the collection and storage of health records. In this way, each patient can have his or her own digital record, including medical history, test results, family history and demographics, allergies, and more.

A secure record system also allows for sharing among health care providers with the users’ consent at the centre of the model. Doctors can add to health records and implement changes without time-consuming paperwork.
Such records can also serve patients by tracking prescriptions, or triggering reminders for lab work, for example.

2. Health Alerts

Another innovation in digital health is “wearable” devices that can provide real-time alerts on patient health. Just as hospital systems can analyze medical data on the spot, personal devices can offer such functionality away from clinical settings. Such portable devices could reduce the costs of in-house care while also giving patients quick healthcare advice and treatment.

One example is an asthma inhaler with a GPS tracker that allows for tracking asthma trends for individuals, while also looking at populations and geography, which can inform treatment plans.

Another example is a blood pressure tracker, which alerts a doctor of a spike in blood pressure. The doctor can then contact the patient to adjust the care plan without booking an appointment.

People are already accustomed to “wearables” such as step counters, fitness trackers, sleep trackers and home blood pressure monitors. That information can also be linked to individual health records and allow for analysis and early detection. For instance, an elevated heart rate plus difficulty sleeping could signal impending heart disease.

Final Thoughts

While healthcare will always have a human element, there are advancements being made in digital health that will support and enhance that care.

Imagine online banking 15 years ago versus today. Digital health is in a similar state, with many innovations on the horizon to support Canadians and their well-being.

To learn more about how Vivvo helps enable digital health and digital government visit https://www.vivvo.com/.