How does digital health support patients/caregivers to become more active participants in their health care?
Access to knowledge is empowering and digital health is one tool helping patients take control over their health. For instance, patients can monitor their lab results online, which helps them become more engaged in their care. Also, patients connecting to online communities receive more information and support than typically is provided during an office visit. Patients become knowledgeable about their own illnesses through these communities, which, in turn, can lead to better treatment options.
Share an experience where digital health had an impact, or could have had an impact, on you as a patient, caregiver or family member.
After being in excruciating pain, my doctor ordered bloodwork. Since I had access to my results online, I was able to check the results on my own. I noticed one of the results was flagged, so I followed up with my doctor, lab results in hand. Because of this access, I was not dependent on the doctor for results, but empowered with information that helped me receive quicker (I was sent to the ER and admitted to hospital) care than had I waited for the doctor’s office to call me with the results.
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 have a number of health issues, so I am a frequent user of the health system; this makes me an ideal candidate to speak about my own experiences as a patient and provide feedback and insights into what is working, what is missing, and what is needed from the patient perspective. Often, digital health conversations exclude the patient voice, so having patients in the room is a first step to achieving a digital health system where innovations are co-designed with patients from the beginning.
How will you apply and share what you learn from Digital Health Week and the 2016 Infoway Partnership Conference?
I’m always hungry for knowledge and attending the conference would give me access to the latest information about digital health in Canada. Since I’m active on Twitter, I hope to be sharing tweets during the conference. Also, if the information is relevant to the organizations with whom I am a patient partner, there is potential for sharing it later with them. Lastly, the more knowledge I have helps me to become more of an engaged patient in my own health.