For many, January is a time to make resolutions that (hopefully) will lead to improvement in the coming year. Not one to believe that arbitrary calendar dates should dictate when growth and change occur, I much prefer the notion of continually trying to better ourselves, regardless of the date.
This is why, in December, I invited leaders from across our CIUSSS—from the Board of Directors to clinicians to administrators—to join me for an afternoon that focused on the future of health care as we know it. Simply put, we need to adapt our processes, so that the point of care is where the patient is.
The way to do this is through digital health.
We often read in the papers and hear from government officials about the cost of care and the shortages of healthcare staff. However, thanks to digital technology, the tools to potentially overcome these obstacles are within reach.
For example, imagine a pacemaker patient who no longer has to trek to the hospital for a checkup. Instead, through technology, that patient is monitored remotely and is asked to come in for an appointment only when necessary. This isn’t a pipe dream; the technology to do this exists now. Fewer trips to the hospital are better for the patient, and medical staff can set priorities to determine which patients need their attention most urgently.
For those wary of change, fear not. You’ve probably already entered the digital health world without even knowing it. If you own a smartphone, odds are it already keeps track of your steps and sleep patterns. This information, though not specifically medical in nature, is helping you to monitor whether you’re living a healthy and active life.
So, if you do happen to see January as a time for resolutions—whether to lose 10 pounds or spend more time with your family—how about adding one more: to support a healthcare evolution that will result in a stronger healthcare system and better care for us all.