4 Video Stories for Digital Health Week

From November 13-18, it’s Digital Health Week—a time for Canadians to celebrate progress in digital healthcare technology.

Canada Health InfoWay has joined organizations across the country to create and promote events exploring this important subject. Healthcare professionals, sector leaders, and digital health supporters are also encouraged to get involved online.

At Aetonix, we know that digital technology can lead to massive time and cost savings within the healthcare system. This innovation can help service providers run more efficiently—and make things easier for workers on the frontlines.

But ultimately, improving the system is about creating better health outcomes and quality of life for those who receive care. That’s why we’re most interested in hearing directly from patients.

In honour of Digital Health Week, we’ve been exploring a patient video series presented by Canada Health InfoWay. We’re sharing four of our favourite picks in this post. Through these videos, you’ll hear directly from people whose lives have been changed by digital health innovation.

1) Judith’s Story

To say that cancer can be physically and emotionally overwhelming would be an understatement. Many patients want an immediate understanding of their treatments and how their bodies are responding. Others don’t. This InfoWay video looks at Judith’s story.

It was important for Judith to access her health information—when she was ready. In the meantime, her family members needed to stay in the loop. By providing on-demand access to Judith’s health records online, digital technology met her needs—and the needs of her family.

For providers, going digital is about more than increasing efficiency. It’s about ensuring that patients as well as family caregivers (and other trusted relatives) have secure access to all relevant information—on their own terms.

2) Cheryl’s Story

Cheryl was used to repeating the medical history of her daughter, who has special needs, every time they visited a new clinic. It was a struggle to remember to bring copies of all potentially-relevant documents to appointments. Overall, the process was draining.

In this InfoWay video, Cheryl describes how electronic health records (EHRs) have helped her navigate the health care system. In the past, pieces of her daughter’s medical history were stored in the files of many different practitioners. But things have changed, thanks to digital documentation.   “[N]ow, all of her history and story is in one concise document,” says Cheryl.

With digital technology, a patient’s entire care team can securely share information relevant to her care. When all medical information and health updates are available in one easily-accessible place, it’s easier for providers to do their jobs. And greater efficiency means better care and less stress for patients—and their families.

3) Heather’s Story

Living in rural and remote places can come with unique healthcare challenges. Heather wanted the best treatment for her son’s burn, but there were no pediatric plastic surgeons in her Northern community.

Traveling to see a specialist was unavoidable. But thanks to telehealth technology, much of the follow-up care Heather’s son required was provided remotely. Communicating through video was different than simply using the telephone. “I feel like it is face-to-face, because you’re talking in real-time,” says Heather.

Many patients have no choice but to travel to receive the care they need. But most would prefer to be at home when possible. Telehealth solutions make it easy for patients who reside outside of city centres to stay in touch with the right practitioners.

4) Denise’s Story

After the death of her son, Denise found online support from other mothers who had experienced grief. Digital health tools also helped by reminding her to engage in self-care activities.

Digital technology allows patients, caregivers, and those coping with illness or loss to reach out for support. Whether it’s an app that connects circle of care members or a digital forum that offers grief support, a digital tool can provide the comfort of human connection.

A growing number of apps offer reminders (related to medication, as just one example), remote health monitoring, appointment scheduling support, and more. These convenient digital tools have the potential to improve the health and overall wellbeing of people around the world.

Feature image courtesy of NEC Corporation of America

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COPD Education – Onboarding

Objective

To complete a thorough needs assessment / initial evaluation for a COPD patient of an outpatient clinic

Actors
Patient, Educator (Nurse, RT, the Physician could also be the educator)

Timelines
One 60-90 min session with the Educator

Description
  • This protocol should be established for all COPD patients from a given clinic, independently of whether they are new patients or they are known to the clinic. This protocol is the basis to engage the patient into other protocols such as education, exacerbation follow-up, etc.
  • We need to identify patient goals/concerns to guide the interventions
  • A thorough evaluation is carried on, with the objective of understanding where the patient is on their disease journey and follow-up treatable traits: dyspnea, exacerbation or dyspnea and exacerbation.
  • It includes the use of objective questionnaires such as the mMRC, CAT, HADS, Frailty Scale, etc.
  • Identify if the patient needs to be referred to other resources (e.g. Physiotherapist, social worker, occupational therapist)
  • Once Onboarding is completed, the patient continues to the COPD Education workflow
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COPD Education – Continuous Maintenance

Objective 

To cover in depth all the necessary elements of self-management education as per the LWWCOPD, with priorities based on patient goals and identified treatable traits

Actors
Patient, Educator (Nurse, RT or Physician)

Timelines
A number of “Core” educational modules have been identified which cover the basic COPD education from the LWWCOPD program. Additionally, optional modules can be used to respond to patient needs. The timeline (frequency, number of modules to be covered at a given education session) is fully customizable, although we recommend to have education sessions every 2-weeks during the “active” phase of education. Once this is completed, the patient continues to the Maintenance Mode (see below).

Description
  • Launched at the onboarding protocol
  • Provide basic overview of COPD self-management based on LWWCOPD (medication adherence, inhaler techniques, PLB technique & energy conservation) up to the development of an Action plan for early exacerbation recognition and management.
  • Prioritize self-learning by the patient (e.g. watching videos, reading educational materials, completing homework) in addition to live sessions with the Educator. Educational materials are sent to the patient directly via the platform, and become the patient’s own library. The Educator can customize which “homework” the patient receives.
  • Educators have access to “User guides” to standardise their educational intervention. These user guides include: objectives, interventions, suggested questions, evaluation of self-efficacy, and learning contracts for each module.
  • Once the core education is completed, the patient can continue to the Respiratory Status Follow-up Workflow (run in parallel)

The Maintenance Mode
  • As soon as the maintenance mode is engaged, the frequency of visits Educator/Patient is reduced to once every 6 months.
  • During the Maintenance Mode sessions, the educator has access to all the education modules and can choose any piece of content that needs to covered with the patient. 
  • A streamlined evaluation (similar to the initial eval.) is done during each “maintenance” visit to identify any substantial changes on the patient’s needs that will require some adjustment. The patient could come back to an “active” education mode (more frequent education sessions, e.g. every 2 weeks).
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COPD Respiratory Status Follow-up

Objective

Monitoring of stable patients from a clinic in order to identify early any aggravation of symptoms (exacerbation) and implement an action plan

Actors
Patient, Educator (Nurse, RT or Physician)

Timelines
Scheduled regular automated follow-up to the patient symptoms. Intensity/Frequency can be adjusted by the Educator depending on patient needs (e.g. daily, every week, etc.). Ongoing through the year.

Description
  • Launch: Patients who have completed the Core Educational including setting-up an action plan.
  • Regular automated questions allow to identify any change in patient’s symptoms and severity.
  • If an exacerbation is detected the patient gets a reminder to engage their self-management strategies while waiting for the Educator to call back.
  • An alarm is generated for the Educator, so they immediately call back the patient. At this call they will evaluate any further intervention required and schedule additional follow-up.
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