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   Letter from the Minister of Health for Canada
  Todd Herron
  Orpah McKenzie
  Geordi Kakepetum
   Shirlee Sharkey
  Barry Burk
  Wolfgang Baun
   Ed Brown, MD
  Dr. Penny Jennett
  Wayne Bell
  Dr. Robert Crawhall
  Bea Felker
  Guy Bisson M.D.,
   Dr. Stanley P. Kutcher
  Dr. Annette O Connor
  Dr. Sarah C. Muttitt
  Peter G. Rossos M.D. and Alejandro (Alex) R. Jadad M.D.

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Wayne Bell

Wayne Bell
Chief Executive Officer
Digital Group of Telehealth Companies

Telemedicine Advisor – The World Bank

People are living longer and populations are on the rise. The ratio between caregivers and patients continues to increase. If we hope to maintain a reasonable level of health care, technology must be sensibly applied as a matter of necessity and not as a matter of choice.

‘Tangible cost savings’ cannot necessarily justify the use of technology, nor should this be the driving factor. In some cases, the application of technology can increase the cost of health care delivery, but at the same time, access to and quality of care can also increase. Further investigation is needed to determine the costs and benefits of technology. The real costs are not solely restricted to the health care insurer or hospital. Additional costs are absorbed by the patient, at times the patient’s family and Society as a whole.

Further efforts are required including inter-provincial/ territorial physician licensing, interoperability of legislation and development of policies and standards pertaining to clinical, educational and operational telehealth interoperability. This is a time for leadership. Physician licensing bodies, provincial and federal authorities and other stakeholders need to engage in this process and take the risks required to make a difference.

As we move forward, we have to keep in-mind that Telehealth is not primarily about technology; it’s about people. Technology is only the tool. It will be how the technology is applied that will define the quality of our health care system in the years to come.


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