Life is at its fastest pace, it seems, and with the COVID-19 pandemic swaying above our heads like an ever-oscillating pendulum, the digital interface is the in thing for almost everything around us. Just take the example of coronavirus; the most prevalent place of its spread seems to be hospitals and clinics where patients of every kind need to be with asymptomatic carriers of the virus among them.
Regardless of the COVID-19 shutdowns and lockdowns, digital health and wellness are emerging as the new interface of disease diagnosis and treatment. So what does digital health mean for a health expert and a patient?
Definition of digital health
Digital health means the use of IT/information technology to deliver healthcare services.
For healthcare experts, healthcare technology enables them to access vital patient information as and when required. It also means a clinician can set up consultation meetings remotely (from home or office) and prescribe medicine via a digital interface, thereby ensuring safety in the wake of COVID-19 crises.
For a patient, it means fewer hospital visits by cutting back on unnecessary appointments and integrating virtual visits, less waiting period at a clinic reception, accessing their lab results online, and the ease of booking medical appointments electronically.
The digital healthcare transformation in Canada is empowering health experts and patients with more benefits than the latter. It is paving the path to improved disease diagnosis, treatment particularly chronic disease management.
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What tools does Digital Health Include?
E-health Canada umbrellas several e-health services, including mobile health (mHealth), health information technology (IT), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalized medicine.
There is a revolution in mobile apps, soft wares, artificial intelligence-based technology, machine learning, and digital technology sweeping technology in healthcare Canada.
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What are the benefits of digital health in Canada?
The benefits of the Canadian healthcare system are immense. Couple it with digital health Canada, and it multiplies manifolds. Smartphones and soft wares, internet applications, and social networks are changing the way doctors treat their patients while enabling the patients to have a better insight into their disease treatment and management. Here is a look at some of them.
1. Easy and quick access to health facilities
One of the benefits of e-health Canada is agile and effective access to healthcare facilities for everyone. It is made possible by the amazing internet facility. Digital healthcare is particularly significant in managing and following chronic disease states.
If you have access to the internet, you do not need to make monthly appointments at your physician’s office and wait for hours to get your prescription renewed.
The doctor and the patient can access the lab results online, and e-prescriptions passed on accordingly. The same goes for emergency health care, where time is of the essence when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.
2. Extending the patient’s reach to healthcare facilities
Besides quick and easy access, another benefit of digital health care is the extension of reach to health care facilities, especially to remote areas and homecare where traveling may not be an option for many.
3. Re-shaping a doctor-patient relationship
Gone are the days when doctors had the full authority over managing a patients’ disease profile. Thanks to the self-care drive, people have become more health-conscious. Since every medical detail is available online for the patient and doctor to see, it has changed the doctor-patient relationship in many ways.
While many healthcare practitioners may be skeptical of this provision, such an arrangement gives a real-time health status of the patient, which benefits the doctor. It helps the doctor to ensure the patient is following the therapeutic routine. The vigilant attitude on the part of the physician helps build mutual trust, confidence, and transparency among either party.
4. Advocating a preventive approach to disease
One of the best things about digital health Canada is that patients can self-manage and follow their signs and symptoms via regular monitoring. It can also be a tool for the early detection of certain diseases like hypertension.
Patients can monitor their disease progression or regression and report promptly to their physicians. For example, smartwatches and phones can monitor your heart rate, follow physical activity, and even take an ECG. This information can be made available to the doctor’s life or on an on-demand basis. Anything out of line and your doctor can intervene at an instant.
5. Reducing the total therapeutic cost
According to the Conference Board of Canada, the healthcare cost has risen post-COVID and is expected to grow beyond Canada Healthcare Transfer’s rate growth. That is an additional burden to the already weighed down healthcare cost globally. E-health online drives healthcare transformation in Canada and would contribute hugely to bringing healthcare costs down. How? By cutting back on time spent on administrative tasks by doctors.
Digital health care can automatize the system by utilizing artificial intelligence. By diverting the doctors’ activities from administrative tasks to patient addressing, a much-prized commodity is saved, time, and spent on the doctors’ real job. For example, instead of making a patient’s physical profile, a digital file on medical history can be made, which is readily available even during an emergency. Digital health care also reduces medication errors, which is a common occurrence with medical transcription.
Electronic health records cut the cost by reducing the chances of duplicate tests as the doctor can access a patient’s complete medical history. This is especially important in managing chronic disease cases which require vigilant follow-up and extended treatment.
6. Creates a supportive one-stop platform
A disease is not a simple entity. A patient may present with many interconnected complaints with different prescriptions for each. Many drugs can interact with each other actions. The benefits of digital health care allow for an all-inclusive platform where various specialists can consult for the same patient and come up with a compliant therapeutic regime with fewer side effects and drug interactions.
Digitization makes the doctor’s job more effective and efficient when they can follow their patient’s progression at one platform and communicate with colleagues on time. This helps ease less workflow. Such digital platforms give patients access to digital communities with common and shared interests. They can not only find the motivation to keep up the therapeutic regime but also help them share their health issues.