Monday, October 06, 2014

Health Information Goes Digital #digitalhealth

We were sitting at the dinner table on a Friday evening. (It's always on a Friday evening, isn't it?) Boo suddenly started scratching all over his torso. "What's wrong?" I ask. "I'm just really itchy, Mommy," as he pulls up his shirt and reveals a crazy red, raised rash. Holy cow! No fever, so I suspected it was a generic viral rash, but sent a pic to my friend the paediatric nurse, just in case. She agreed with me, but recommended getting it checked out the next day anyway. And when a nurse tells you to see the doctor, you go!


Keeping this guy healthy for our adventures is a top priority
A great thing about our family doctor is she's part of a family health group with after-hours clinics, so we always have someone we can see. The doctor that day confirmed viral rash and suggested oatmeal baths and a pain medication. But the best part (aside from knowing there was nothing serious going on) was that he was able to type in all his notes on the visit and send them electronically to our own doctor. Boom! Just like that she had them and could attach them to Boo's electronic file at her office. I was comforted knowing she had all the information in an easily accessible way, making follow up and ongoing monitoring that much easier.

Being a techie gal myself I appreciate the focus her office has on digital records and communications. I can check out her current schedule on the office's website, send her an email, or book an appointment online. I even get appointment reminders by email. And if I'm visiting her but have a question about Boo's health, or when he's due for a vaccination or whatever, she just pulls up his record on her computer and searches the answer. No need to have someone go looking for a paper file that she then has to sort through to find what she needs. It is so quick and convenient.

Across the country more and more health care professionals are turning to electronic records and secure digital sharing of patient data. Canada Health Infoway has launched a public education campaign, BetterHealth Together, designed to introduce us to this growing trend in health care. As digital storage and access to health records expands, there may be some concerns about security and personal privacy, and this campaign hopes to familiarise the public with the safeguards in place and to educate on the benefits of digital health records.


Does your doctor receive lab results electronically? Mine does, and it means a quick, efficient and secure delivery of my information, resulting in quick answers for me and speedy treatment if necessary. Her office also provides printed lab requisitions and prescriptions - so much easier and more complete than the old hand-written notes. Plus, since the sheets print from the system, you are assured that your file contains the exact same data. 

Image from Kozzi.com
If you are booking medical appointments online, using a mobile app to log information on your and your family's health conditions, or if your doctor maintains electronic instead of paper patient records, you are a part of the digital health movement. Do you have a personal story on how these technologies are playing a role in your health care? Canada Health Infoway encourages you to join them on Facebook and share your story, while learning more about digital health in Canada. You can also find them on Twitter at @Infoway.




Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Canada Health Infoway, however the images and opinions are my own. For more information please visit www.betterhealthtogether.ca.

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