The challenges facing the Canadian healthcare industry
are varied and complex, yet there is increasing recognition that
resolution lies in advances in information technology. Quality of
patient care, patient safety, medical costs and operational inefficiencies
are driving the need for catalytic change within the healthcare
system and information technology will play a key role in that transformation.
example, IT is a huge enabler of new models for health care delivery,
a central issue in the primary care reform movement currently underway
to address the limited access to medical care some Canadians face.
Teletriage systems, such as the one in Ontario which allows patients
to dial a 1-800 number 24-hour access immediate medical advice,
is a fairly simple yet effective front runner of this.
technology is making it possible for more complex solutions such
as videoconference consultation, remote surgery and home diagnoses
and monitoring, where blood sugar or blood pressure readings can
be electronically transmitted to physicians.
more, taking advantage of technology tools and streamlining IT resources
will allow healthcare organizations to develop and deliver better
programs and treatments for Canadians in new ways. Harnessing idle
power on personal computers to crunch complex algorithms to help
identify new drug therapies, or conduct drug testing on a virtual
cell are two of the most exciting advances to date.
bottom line is technology will increasingly have a role to play
in the Canadian healthcare system and offers the best medicine for
the ills the industry is facing.