Coordinated adoption of information and communications technology will improve efficiency, save lives
Richard Ivey School of Business white paper sponsored by TELUS makes recommendations to accelerate adoption of health I.T.
Vancouver, B.C. - British Columbia can significantly improve the efficiency of its health care system while improving patient care and saving lives if individual citizens, health care practitioners, health regions, and the province partner together and adopt powerful health information technology (health IT) solutions.
A white paper released today by the Ivey Centre for Health Innovation and Leadership at the BC Health IT Symposium in Vancouver makes a number of recommendations that, if adopted, lay out a road-map for the adoption of health information technology that will make the province’s health care system both more affordable and more effective to the benefit of patients and health care practitioners. The paper also concludes that these investments have the potential to foster the development of a health IT industry and create jobs in B.C. exporting technology solutions around the world.
“This white paper is a call to action and a call to invest now in the interest of long-term savings, both financial and human,” said Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Chair of the Ivey Centre for Health Innovation and Leadership. “If B.C.’s health care system is to remain sustainable in the face of enormous challenges on the near horizon, we must embrace the information technologies that other sectors of the economy have successfully used to enhance efficiency and improve service.”
“The good news is that the foundation for that important evolution already exists in B.C., and actually has the potential to become an economic engine for the province. The opportunity exists to create a world-class cluster of health IT excellence that will transform health systems both in Canada and globally by building on the existing strengths of B.C.’s IT and life-science industry,” Dr. Leitch said.
“If B.C.’s health system maintains a focused and unified investment in health IT, the province will benefit from a more efficient and productive health care system and derive an economic benefit from a knowledge industry that exports solutions to the world. To accomplish this, the province should create incentives to drive adoption of health IT with key stakeholders in the health care system and develop a highly-skilled workforce through education and training programs that cross-pollinate expertise from health, health informatics, computer science, engineering and business.”
Among the speakers at the forum is Francois Cote, TELUS executive vice-president and president of TELUS Health Solutions. TELUS contributed funding for the white paper, and co-sponsored the forum with Microsoft Corp.
“In other areas of our lives, technology has empowered us with convenience, speed and access to information whether it is paying bills online, changing a flight from your wireless device or downloading music and movies to your phone,” said Mr. Cote. “Yet, up until now, Canadians have been inhibited from
gaining similar access to information when it comes to their health care. We should be able to consult treatment plans electronically, schedule appointments online with our doctors, securely access our health information and share it effectively with our network of care providers. We hope this white paper proves to be a helpful tool in the work of realizing this important goal in the interest of all British Columbians.”
As an example, Mr. Cote said that some individual hospitals have adopted the use of tablet computers and TELUS’ electronic health records, which can hold information about drug treatments, medical scans, allergies, and other critical information for a patient’s entire life. This allows doctors with a tablet computer to consult with patients and families right in their hospital rooms with full information, reviewing scans and checking on past treatments and scans rather than having to track down and check paper records that might not even exist, or re-do expensive and time-consuming tests that were done at another doctors office or in other hospitals.
During the event, David Cerino, general manager in Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, also will speak to the value of information technology in health care and how software can enable stakeholders across the BC health system to deliver on the white paper’s recommendations.
“As outlined in this important white paper, using technology to put personal health information in the hands of individuals can empower patients and their families to take control of their health and to work more effectively with their care providers,” said Cerino. “At Microsoft, our vision is for a connected health ecosystem that enables data to be shared in meaningful ways within a hospital; outside the hospital with patients; and with applications that span the spectrum of care – from labs to fitness facilities to pharmacies and more. Only with this holistic view of personal health data will we be able to engage patients and improve on the delivery and management of health and wellness – here in British Columbia and around the world.”
About the Ivey Centre for Health Innovation and Leadership
The Ivey Centre for Health Innovation and Leadership is situated within the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, and was established in 2009. It is dedicated to being a catalyst for health system innovation by:
• Developing leadership capacity through education programs targeting current and future leaders in the health system,
• Emphasizing education that equips students to identify, understand, embrace and enable innovation in real business situations through programs like Heath Innovation Demonstration Projects and Ivey Consulting Projects (projects that bring students, entrepreneurs, and stakeholder organizations together to solve problems in real time),
• Empowering health system stakeholders to collaboratively focus on the maximization of human and tangible resources within the system, to overcome innovation and leadership deficits, and,
• Supporting and disseminating research that establishes the evidence base for innovative health system solutions that are applicable in the context of the Canadian health care system.
For more information on the Centre, please visit www.ivey.uwo.ca/ichil
TELUS (TSX: T, T.A; NYSE: TU) is a leading national telecommunications company in Canada, with $9.6 billion of annual revenue and 12 million customer connections including 6.7 million wireless subscribers, 3.8 million wireline network access lines and 1.2 million Internet subscribers and 228,000 TELUS TV customers. Led since 2000 by President and CEO, Darren Entwistle, TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services including data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, entertainment and video.
In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed $158 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered 3.1 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. Nine TELUS Community Boards across Canada lead TELUS’ local philanthropic initiatives. TELUS was honoured to be named the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company to receive this prestigious international recognition.
For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com.
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