The dual benefits of digital health for clinicians and consumers

Digital health professionals are preparing to meet nationally once again at the e-Health 2017 Conference and Tradeshow in June, and the topic on everyone’s mind – and theme of the conference — will be the increasing reliance of Canada’s health system on digital solutions, and the people who benefit from them. But who benefits most: consumers or clinicians?

Consumers

Canadian patients want: Better access to care, higher quality care, and more efficient care. Canadian clinicians are already working at capacity to deliver the best care possible within the limits of the healthcare system. Digital health solutions can offer the support needed to smooth the way toward giving patients the ease-of-access, quality and efficiency they deserve. For example:

  • Electronic Health Records (EHR) allow doctors to see a patient’s complete health information in real-time, including any medical charts, past diagnoses, lab results, and treatment.
  • Access to information saves time for both patients and doctors and leads to better care decisions.
  • Reduction in duplicate tests that occur when the physician doesn’t have access to the patient’s results from a previous test or provider. If duplicated tests were reduced by 3% percent across Canada, it could eliminate 1.3 million unnecessary tests each year.
  • More efficient monitoring and management of chronic diseases. A comprehensive record keeps track of patient medications, consultations, specialist reports, x-rays and scans all in one place.
  • Reduction in medication errors, which can pose a serious threat to patient safety and contribute to rising healthcare costs. Automated drug information systems can reduce prescription errors and abuse by automatically checking for problems whenever a new medication is prescribed and alerting clinicians to potentially harmful drug interactions.

Clinicians

Canadian doctors put patient needs first, and want to offer the best quality care possible within the hospital, clinic, long-term care or office setting in which they work. By increasing workflow efficiency, digital health solutions can help doctors maintain their high standards of care in the face of increasing cost and time restrictions. Digital health records make it easier for clinicians to:

  •  Efficiently manage workflows and improve care coordination – an increasing challenge with an aging population.
  • Track a patient’s history, allergies, medications, and past procedures – a distinct advantage over paper charts with differing notation styles, missing or illegible notes, and unmanageable folders.
  • Better serve remote patients. EHR enables multiple care providers, regardless of location, to access a patient’s record from any computer
  • Communicate with colleagues and specialists in a more timely fashion.
  • Quickly transfer patient data to other providers.
  • Reduce errors that occur from transcription.
  • Increase diagnostic accuracy by always having access to a patient’s complete history.

Adoption of digital health brings benefits for everyone. Patients, from having a deeper knowledge of their health, increased confidence in their ability to participate in the management of their health, and more informed discussions with their doctor. Clinicians benefit from increased efficiency (even factoring in the time invested in learning a new system and mastering new processes and workflows) and improved communication between all healthcare stakeholders, including patients, clinics, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies.

Digital health contributes to patient safety, patient engagement and improving patient outcomes. For more information on how or to discuss the details, come to a Digital Health session at the eHealth 2017 Conference and Tradeshow, or download a COACH report on the benefits of health information systems.