Garry L.

How does digital health support patients/caregivers to become more active participants in their health care?

Patients will be more active in their health care when they are engaged using their preferred medium. Seeing other patients’ experiences or communicating with health care providers via video, YouTube, Twitter, SnapChat and other social media, is more relatable and can allow for a better understanding of our health. With my cancer journey, I found the preparation videos for surgery improved my confidence to be ready for surgery in the best possible shape and reduced my unease about the procedure.

Share an experience where digital health had an impact, or could have had an impact, on you as a patient, caregiver or family member.

I recently completed a Digital Storytelling weekend with other AHS Patient Advisers where we created our own digital story video experiences,then shared our videos amongst our group. The impact to me was profound and was overcome with emotion. I was inspired and empowered because I could relate to their experiences even though their journey was not cancer related. Digital stories are vital for patients as it adds to already available print. It allows a personal experience.

The theme of the 2016 Infoway Partnership Conference is “A Conversation About Digital Health”. How do you believe you can contribute to the conversation?

I am a retired business owner who came through a successful abdominoperineal resection surgery last year due to Colorectal Cancer. As a participant in the ERAS program, I am privileged to share my experiences at AHS conferences and events. I also contribute to the AHS Surgical Strategic Clinical Network (SCN) and Patient Engagement Reference Group SCN as a Patient Adviser. I am experienced at public speaking and add a personalized patient perspective to healthcare.

How will you apply and share what you learn from Digital Health Week and the 2016 Infoway Partnership Conference?

I will most definitely take back the learnings and opportunities to the SCN groups that I participate in. I truly believe in the patient and medical provider partnership, and my intent is to present an overview of what I’ve learned to other Patient Advisors and my contacts within AHS SCN leadership. I am excited about the potential of Digital Health. Today we use Video, Snapchat, Facebook and provincial Electronic Health Records, who knows what the future will bring.