Category: Innovation

Why can’t you email your doctor?

Email

Email may be the preferred communication method with clients in many industries, but many health care clinics are still relying on phone and fax to connect with patients. Only about 11% of Canadian primary care doctors communicate with their patients through email. In comparison, 35% of doctors email patients in the United States and United Kingdom,…

The rise of the private patient advocate

Patient advocate

After bouncing around doctors’ offices in an effort to treat her debilitating back pain, Maureen had become discouraged with the lack of progress. She had seen multiple specialists yet nothing seemed to provide relief, and she began to feel disillusioned as she struggled to navigate the health care system. “I seemed to be spending a…

Cord blood banking in Canada

cord blood banking

Minutes after giving birth, blood from the umbilical cord is collected and sent off to a central cord blood bank to be cryogenically frozen.  Years later this cord blood could be used to cure some cancers and treat rare diseases. While to some this sounds like the stuff of science fiction,  the use of cord…

Have investments in interprofessional education led to changes in practice?

Interprofessional education

As part of the 2003 Health Accord, the Federal Government made major investments in interprofessional education. This included contributing $28 million dollars to build training centres across Canadian colleges and universities. Investing in interprofessional education was motivated by the belief that changing the way health care professionals work together would be a key part of…

Health Links: Ontario’s bid to provide more efficient and effective care for its sickest citizens

Health Links: Ontario's bid to provide more efficient and effective care for its sickest citizens

Ontario’s Health Links initiative is a “big manoeuvre” in a complex provincial system, acknowledges Helen Angus, associate deputy minister with the transformation secretariat of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC). The initiative aims to facilitate coordination of care at a local level for high needs patients. It comes in the wake of…

What cancer patients need to know about clinical trials

Lisa Priest Personal Health Navigator Sunnybrook healthydebate.ca

The Personal Health Navigator is available to all Canadian patients. Questions about your doctor, hospital or how to navigate the health care system can be sent to AskLisa@Sunnybrook.ca The Question: I have run out of conventional medical treatments for my cancer, which has metastasized. How do I join a clinical trial? How do I increase my chances…

E-consultations promise better communication for doctors and shorter waits, less travel for patients

E-consultations promise better communication for doctors and shorter waits, less travel for patients

An Ottawa area pilot project that facilitates electronic consultations between family physicians and specialists has proved so popular among doctors and administrators that its architects are finding ways to make it permanent. These consultations occur before an actual referral to a specialist is considered by the family doctor. “Doing referrals as a family doctor is one…

Patient-oriented research in Canada: what progress has been made?

PCORI, SPOR, Patient oriented research

The governments of Canada and the United States have patient-oriented research initiatives underway, which share the goals of supporting research that will improve health care systems and directly benefit patients.  However, the mandate, structure and funding of these initiatives differ significantly, with the United States accomplishing a great deal in a relatively short period of…

Does evidence support expanding telehomecare in Ontario?

Telemedicine

Telehomecare programs offer remote monitoring for people living with chronic diseases, linking patients to providers without requiring an in-person visit.  Ontario is currently developing a number of large-scale telehomecare programs with the promise that they are patient centred, cost effective approaches to care. While there is great enthusiasm for telehomecare programs from patients, providers and…

Head first: birth centres in Ontario

Integrated Maternity Care

Ontario recently announced funding for two birth centres that will be led by midwives. The government has indicated it is opening birth centres partly to move care out of hospitals and save money. Although birth centres are probably safe and may improve maternity care, it is less clear whether Ontario’s birth centres will indeed reduce…

Who controls how patient information is shared in Ontario?

Privacy of Medical Records in Ontario

Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner recently ordered Cancer Care Ontario to stop sending paper copies of screening reports containing personal health information to physicians.   However, a massive amount of personal health information is mailed or faxed every day in Ontario.  The implications of this order to information sharing and transfer across the health care…

Interpreting randomized trial evidence around mammography

Interpreting Randomized Trial Evidence on Mammography

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care recently released recommendations about screening for breast cancer.  These recommendations have been criticized by some because they emphasize the results of randomized trials.  This article explores the advantages and limitations of randomized trial evidence regarding screening mammography.  The recent recommendations by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive…

Should patients have better access to their medical records?

Should Patients Have Better Access to Their Medical Records?

Patients are increasingly interested in reading the information in their own medical records. Canadian laws and existing technologies support this in principle. However, most patients are not yet easily able to access their medical records in practice. Canadians today have easy access to a range of systems that store their personal information. The difference between…

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing comes to Canada

LittleBoyGenetics_2

Genetic profiles are being offered directly to consumers online for relatively reasonable sums of money. These websites are not yet widely known to Canadian consumers.  Doctors and the public need to be educated to better understand what the results of these tests mean.  E-commerce has exploded over the past decade, and now you can buy…