COACH rebrand as Digital Health Canada reflects need for connections in our broadening, growing industry
As the pace of social, business, and technology transformation accelerates, traditional borders between professional, organizational, technological, and geographic categories are shifting, and connections are more important than ever before. Connections between people and organizations; patients and doctors; applications and data sources.
Connections take first place in our mission statement: To connect, inspire, and educate digital health professionals who are creating the future of health in Canada. Together, we are moving forward to catalyze digital health communities, incubate knowledge to enhance practice, and advocate for professionals and the industry.
Many of you have shared your thoughts on the changes you are experiencing as professionals. You’ve told us that your work is influenced by the rapid expansion (both breadth and depth) in all areas of digital health – not just in terms of new technology, but new expectations, shifting roles (organizational and individual), new partnerships, additional skill and practice requirements, and organizations that complement (and disrupt) traditional health service delivery models.
Constructing a connected ecosystem
As your professional association, we aspire to provide you with a strong network of peers, opportunities to learn and lead, and knowledge resources for making an impact in your work to improve the health of Canadians. We understand that your professional needs and interests are best served through a connected ecosystem that brings together professionals, organizations, and a broad knowledge base drawn from stakeholders in diverse sectors: hospitals, government agencies, private industry, startups, and more.
When connected and engaged, these stakeholders form powerful coalitions that advance digital health and improve access, experience, and outcomes for Canadians. Today, many of these sectors remain siloed.
Five strategic objectives
Based on valuable insights gathered from members, partners, and stakeholders, your Board of Directors and management team recently built a strategic plan that reflects your interests, needs, and goals. To deliver on our mission (Connect, inspire, and educate digital health professionals who are creating the future of health in Canada) and vision (Catalyze the digital health community, incubate knowledge, and advocate for professional members and the industry), the plan sets out five strategic objectives:
- Enhance Membership Through Value Through Network Growth and Connections: we will deliver high membership value through a large, integrated professional network that includes traditional sectors, new segments, and innovative service offerings.
- Connect Communities (Digital and Physical): we will deepen existing and build new relationships with partners to improve access to information, enhance value exchange, and develop regional infrastructure to support member activity.
- Empower Professional Development and Advocacy: we will support members through professional development at the individual and organizational level and advocate for the Canadian digital health industry.
- Implement Digital Business Platform: we will operate effectively and efficiently with technology-enabled services to engage and support membership needs seamlessly.
- Build Brand Awareness and Brand Value: our brand is recognized, valued, and respected within the digital health industry.
Attaining objectives requires action, and we set out to evaluate our association name and visual identity in two categories: the current state of the industry and our vision for the future. With the support of a professional branding agency, we gathered feedback from stakeholder interviews, focus groups (member and non-member), and an online survey at the e-Health Conference and Tradeshow.
What we heard from you
- Our mandate to connect, incubate knowledge and advocate for digital health and digital health professionals is increasingly significant as our industry diversifies and grows to include sub-industries and domains
- Our strategic plan positions us well to address the rapidly evolving future of digital health in Canada
- Our existing name and brand presents challenges to delivering on our strategic objectives
- Our new name and brand signifies our association’s evolution to meet the needs of a complex and challenging digital health industry
- Our new name and brand allows us all to broaden and expand our reach to include all professionals working in broader and growing domain areas related to digital health in Canada
Moving forward in an era of change
For over 40 years, our association has grown and transformed to meet the changing needs of professionals in Canada. Our rich history reveals the vision, foundational values, and passionate community that has helped professionals and organizations lead the way to where we are today. Canadian digital health professionals and organizations stand proudly among their global peers and their successes in professionalism, practices, and partnerships are leading examples of digital health globally.
Visionary leaders set out 1975 and the Canadian Organization for Advancement of Computers in Health was born (the acronym (COACH) eventually replaced the original name, and the tagline ‘Canada’s Health Informatics Association’ was added in 2001). The COACH name was instrumental in building a strong foundation over the first four decades.
Today, we are poised to embrace the changes to come. Now is the time to bring the name and the association into alignment. The proposed name change and visual identity refresh will enable the association and our members to operate with confidence in the digital health industry; to extend networks across traditional, emerging, and future industry segments and verticals; and to bring a fresh and cohesive look and feel to all our communications, including the valuable legacy materials that encompass the Health Informatics Body of Knowledge that will continue as the core of our education and career-building offerings.
The key role of health informatics
Health informatics — the intersection of clinical, IM/IT, and management practices to achieve better health — plays a key role in every domain of digital health. As the field of digital health expands and broadens, the core knowledge and practice areas of health informatics becomes increasingly important to professionals and organizations working to improve health of Canadians.
Just as physiology is a core knowledge area for all health professionals (including allied health, pharmacists, primary care professionals, and surgeons), we believe the health informatics body of knowledge is a critical foundation for all professionals working in digital health. We continue to support and grow our membership of professionals dedicated to advancing the health informatics body of knowledge through access to information, talent, credentials, recognition, programs and broad range of services and specialized resources.
How can we move forward together?
A Special Members Meeting has been called for September 14 to approve our association name change; join together with your peers as we take this important step forward as an association.
I have enjoyed hearing from members as we embark on this important path forward. Please contact me and let me know if you’d like to speak further about our vision and approach.
CEO, COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association