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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Patient access, control will shape future care

 

Health care innovation

Health care innovation

Metroland file photo
Mackenzie Health patient Tennille Johnson (left) learns how to use the controls for the intelligent hospital bed in her room from nurse Suzette Jordan in the innovation unit at Mackenzie Health in Richmond Hill. The room also contains other technology for better patient care, such as the hand washing station on the wall, which monitors use by staff, an example of how health care is innovating for the future. July 15, 2014     

 

Health care innovation

Health care innovation

Metroland file photo
Mackenzie Health patient Tennille Johnson (left) learns how to use the controls for the intelligent hospital bed in her room from nurse Suzette Jordan in the innovation unit at Mackenzie Health in Richmond Hill. The room also contains other technology for better patient care, such as the hand washing station on the wall, which monitors use by staff, an example of how health care is innovating for the future. July 15, 2014     Richmond Hill Liberal

The future is here.

Well not here, exactly.

Estonia.

But that’s close enough, as far as Gary Ryan is concerned.

The Chief Innovation Officer for Southlake Hospital has seen the future in the tiny northern European country and he predicts it will soon arrive in Canada.                                                  

Estonia — which is about the same size as York Region — transformed into an innovation powerhouse after it gained independence from Russia almost 20 years ago.

Estonians can now insert an identity card into a laptop, type a password and immediately pay their taxes, vote, or access government services from health care to banking, police and school records.

Ryan believes Canadian health care could soon follow the lead of the little startup state.

It’s happening now, in bits and pieces. LifeLabs lets you access test results online. Sunnybrook Hospital has My Chart patient portal. Southlake, Markham Stouffville and Stephenson hospitals have partnered to share patient data. Rexall Drugs’ online prescription service allows patients to renew prescriptions and share information with emergency responders via phone app. And Mackenzie Health’s Innovation Unit has smart sensors that record caregivers’ hand hygiene and smart beds that weigh patients and keep them from falling.

But Ryan says there is much more in store — beginning with e-health.

“All Canadians should have full access to all of their health information online in real time so you can control how you want to share it. It’s my results. Why wouldn’t I have access to it? The bank doesn’t make an assumption that, because I never graduated high school, I’m not entitled to see my own bank records.”

Ryan says health care is shedding its old paternalistic views and moving toward a consumer-directed approach.

Advancements on the horizon include personalized medicine (drugs modified to match your genetic makeup), treatments to enhance your personal immune system and anti-aging supplements or therapies to extend your lifetime.

Dr. George Arnold, Chief of Clinical Innovation and Strategic Ventures at Markham Stouffville Hospital, points to three main drivers of change:

Control:

· Patients taking greater interest in their own health care. Arnold expects patients will soon be able to access results and interact with physicians on their own time via Skype or phone.

· People are shopping around for things like elective surgery, childbirth and diagnostics and imaging. Health-care providers will need to find ways to accommodate their demands. The culturally diverse Markham hospital, for example, is reaching out to ethnic communities, providing multilingual staffing, printed material and expanded OB waiting rooms for extended family gatherings.

Convenience:

· Technology will allow patients to access treatment and monitoring at their convenience. For example, with a weigh scale, blood pressure cuffs and lessons on how to measure the tummy and listen to heartbeats, monthly OB doctor checkups may not be necessary.

Cost:

· Monitoring and assessing patients remotely will reduce costs, letting doctors focus on more complicated issues.

· More doctors are working in health teams, paid regardless of number of visits or whether by phone, Skype or in person

“The pace of change is increasing,” Ryan adds. “I think we’ll see more fundamental change in the next decade than we have in the last 30 years.”

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