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<h4>Spring 2004 Issue</h4>

Spring 2004 Issue

The Dawn of a New Era in Canadian Health Care

TeleHealth and eHealth could give Canadians Unprecedented Control over their Health Care and Health Care Costs.

A common frustration voiced by physicians these days is how often patients come into their offices carrying Internet printouts. Access to information creates patients that are informed about some of the facts related to their condition but who are not really in sync with medical decision making processes. The end result is often that more physician time is used and frustrations occur for both patients and physicians.

Another problem that we hear about is that medical science has provided us with more choices and the promise of better out comes. However these benefits are coming at a cost; the cost of more expensive tests, treatments, procedures and decision-making processes.

They say that a little knowledge is dangerous thing. Both of the above examples illustrate how adding knowledge to our health care system, without changing the processes around the use and management of that knowledge, is leading to problems.

An analogy would be that we are putting a modern V8 engine into a Model T Ford and then neglecting to upgrade the steering, brakes and suspension needed to control the newfound power. Telehealth and eHealth are the systems that we now need to upgrade and take control over our newly, "suped up", Model T - health care system.

Telehealth places more medical information into the hands of patients and health care workers alike. It is brings everyone into closer contact with far away medical specialists and gives us all access to online information that is making specialized medical knowledge, even information about the medical decision process itself, available to anyone who needs it.

eHealth in the form of the Electronic Health Record initiative in Canada represents an opportunity to make a patient's entire medical history, with test results and prescription history, available to anyone charged with treating that patient. On a higher level, an extensive database of health care treatments and outcomes is the tool that our health care managers require in order to fine-tune the management of our health care investment making sure that Canadians are getting the best health care service possible for the money available.

Our “Web of Care” issue of Canada Connects is designed to provide information on projects, people and opinions that will help determine how this technology will be used to create Canada’s Health care system of the future.

We encourage you to read these articles and then to follow up on what you learn here in order to become a full participant in the creation of your own heath care future.

Philip Carr
Managing Editor
Canada Connects


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