You could think of the "Healthy Ontario"
web site as a
really good owners
manual for your body.
Heathy OntarioAn Online Owner's Manual for your Body
What do you suppose is the utility value of your car's owner's manual? Well it depends of course on whether you read it or not, but lets suppose that you do . . .
By understanding and following the manufacturer's suggested maintenance schedule you can probably add years to your vehicles life and retain thousands of dollars in resale value. If it was a really good owner's manual, it would allow you to understand enough about how your car works that you could tell the difference between a problem that required the aid of a $60/hour auto mechanic and one that you could fix yourself with a quick trip to the Canadian Tire automotive department.
Well you could think of the "Healthy Ontario" web site as a REALLY good owner's manual for your body. The web site was created by the Ontario Government with the expectation that; by providing citizens with a health care reference of first resort they could save many times their investment in the web site, by diverting the need for many Ontario citizens to visit a physician simply to obtain basic health care information.
The web site was created and continues to be operated by Prescient Digital Media under contract to the Ontario Government. Toby Ward, President and CEO of Prescient Digital Media explained further:
"The Healthy Ontario web site is really two sites in one. One is a health information web site of first resort for anyone with a health concern of any kind, and the other a web portal to the province's health care services.
As a health information site we are comprehensive in terms of the topics which we cover, plus we add an Ontario spin to that information. If SARS is the concern of the day then we will make sure that we have the most current information available in an accessible manner. If it is some other health epidemic we will ensure that we have the most current information that people need to know on that topic.
As a web portal, Ontario citizens can use our site to find a physician, a clinic, long-term care or any other type of health related facility in their region."
The health information on the Healthy Ontario web site is written by non-physicians but is reviewed by qualified MD's before it is published. The total cost of developing Healthy Ontario was under $450,000. The annual maintenance costs were not disclosed but we were told that it is the equivalent to the province's cost of maintaining "a few physicians" in the field.
What is the value of Healthy Ontario? Well of course it depends on who uses it, but Toby Ward claims that they have over 1M distinct visitors per month. If only 1% of those visitors used Healthy Ontario as an alternative to a visit to see a physician it would be saving of 10,000 patient visits per month. If another 1% of those people use the information to improve the health lifestyles of their families; that could represent tens of thousands of Ontario citizens who will be less dependent on medical intervention in order to correct the sins of bad diets and bad health habits.
When asked what was the most important thing for people to know about the Healthy Ontario website, Toby Ward said:
"If you are in need of is health related information visit Healthy Ontario first. If have believe that you require medical treatment, see a doctor."
To view the Healthy Ontario web site go to: http://www.healthyontario.com