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Conversations on technology for community service providers

e-Health - Part I: e-Health Conference in Vancouver June 1-4

Not so long ago (on the geological time scale), I was nearly laughed out my first university lab course for submitting a hand-drawn graph in my lab report. No one was doing graphs by hand anymore. My new lab mates, younger and fully immersed in the latest technology, brought their laptops into the lab and had never had to do a lab report without one. I, like most of my generation, was ancient and sooo behind. But the gap between frontier and mainstream was about to start narrowing.

It was right around that time when A 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care emerged from a First Ministers Meeting on the Future of Health Care 2004, which set a goal of investing in technology as a pathway to healthcare reform in Canada.

Alongside the government’s 10 Year Plan, e-health progress was being made by Canada Health Infoway (CHI), an independent not-for-profit corporation created 2001 with funding by the Canadian federal and provincial governments to develop a nationwide health information management system and to coordinate emerging technology initiatives across the country. Its chief objective was the implementation of electronic health records.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is another big driver of e-health advancement. In 2013, CIHR funded the e-Health Innovations initiative, which has since reviewed an incredible diversity of innovative projects such as Can e-therapies reduce waiting lists in secondary mental health care? and The use of text messaging to improve the hospital-community transition and prevent readmission in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Ten years later, the e-Health 2014 conference in Vancouver June 1-4 is a testament to how much that commitment to change has advanced perspectives and approaches. Events such as Hackathon enable participants to go beyond talk and get right down to the business of problem solving. Hackathon challenges small teams of innovators who workshop hands-on solutions to real problems currently faced by front-line healthcare workers. The event is held by Hacking Health, a social organisation originating in Montreal, Quebec in 2012 that partners technology experts with healthcare professionals to build collaborative solutions to front-line healthcare problems.

The conference is sponsored by Canada’s Health Informatics Association (CHIA) together with the Canadian Institute for Health Information. CHIA is committed to advancing health informatics practices in Canada, leading change and innovation with awards for Innovation in the Adoption of Health Informatics and Emerging Leader in Health Informatics.


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