Sandra D.

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

Digital health empowers patients to be active participants in their health care through products and services that put convenience in the hands of the user. Access is easy when seeking health care appointments in virtual clinics. Online and in apps, social media also connects people to peers and professionals for knowledge exchange and support. Well-designed digital health engages people to utilize self-help and connect to clinicians to prevent problems and manage chronic conditions.

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

Once while travelling, I had a medical concern and used a smartphone app to connect to a virtual clinic in Canada. With my health card number I was able to see a GP through secure videoconferencing, after only 5 minutes. The doctor advised me about my health, and put my mind at ease about the cause without a wait to return home. A report was then sent to my GP. This saved me time, fully integrated, convenient, and accessible. Quality digital health positively impacted my wellness.

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 advocate for patient collaboration in digital health and seek discussion on involvement. As a member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada Advisory Council, I sometimes advise on digital health initiatives, and bring that knowledge to the table. I’ve twice attended the e-Mental Health Conference, and I maintain an e-health directory. I’ve used and reviewed many apps, including for medication management. I can provide an informed patient perspective in conversations.

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

After the event, I’ll use knowledge translation skills to blog for UBC’s CREST.BD health research group, sharing my learnings with an audience of patients, family, clinicians, and academics. I will also blog for a patient and family audience at PsychCentral, a popular web site. Finally, I will write and submit a commentary to the Journal of Participatory Medicine.