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Transforming Health Care Through Informatics, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 637

Essay

The vision for health information in Canada is the creation of a national, fully integrated system which provides Canadians with the tools necessary to access medical information in a safe and confidential manner from the privacy of their own home computers.  This system would include a national electronic health record, tele-health tools, and health information that would empower Canadians to play an active part in their own good health.  Such a system can link people in remote locations with larger urban centers, allowing them to access information and resources that wouldn’t otherwise be available.  E-health would connect multiple points of care under one system so that practitioners, hospitals, individuals, and other care providers would minimize the duplication of services while ensuring that patients receive excellent treatment that focuses on prevention and evidence-based treatment (Pascal, 2000).

The strengths of this vision include its emphasis on including all Canadians in this informatics plan, making physical distance irrelevant and providing quality information and care to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to such resources.  This vision for health information also presents a way to use new technologies to cut costs to the health care system by eliminating duplication of services and the bureaucratic red tape that one might find under a less streamlined system (Canadian Health Infoway, 2011).  The weaknesses of this vision stem mainly from the cost and difficulty of successfully implementing such a comprehensive system.  As well,  although the goal of health informatics is to complement in-person care, such a system may ultimately end up replacing much of the face-to-face contact individuals have under current systems.  Further research regarding the effectiveness of health informatics is needed to determine how the content of electronic health records are to be defined, how to best customize interactive systems for a variety of users, and other fundamental areas (Alvarez, 2002).

This vision is achievable primarily because health informatics has been recognized by the government at the provincial and federal level as being a pivotal way in which the health care system can be made more accountable and more accessible to Canadians. The financial support of the government is key to implementing such a large-scale project that encompasses multiple jurisdictions and involves many different stakeholders (CIHI, 2011).  This vision is also achievable because current trends are acclimating Canadians towards using technology in every aspect of their lives; thus, the idea of using informatics to access and facilitate health services is not nearly as foreign as it would have been in the past (Pascal, 2000).

Although the various stakeholders share a common interest in providing Canadians with superior access to healthcare information and services, they each have different roles in seeing a comprehensive informatics system implemented. For example, privacy advocates are interested in ensuring that the personal information of users is protected to the utmost degree.   As such, they provide research, information, and advocacy to help other stakeholders create and maintain a secure system.  Conversely, the role of health care practitioners includes the willingness to maintain an open mind regarding the implementation of new technologies within their practice so that they can become responsive partners within the informatics system (Pascal, 2000).

My objectives include developing a better understanding of the various ways in which health care informatics will impact on the delivery of medical services to Canadians. I’m also interested in finding concrete ways in which practitioners can educate the public about the ways in which their medical information is used, with an aim to advising patients about how the system protects their personal information.

References

Alvarez, R.C. (2002). The promise of e-Health: A Canadian perspective. e-Health International, 1(4). Retrieved from http://www.virtualmed.netfirms.com/internethealth/ehi200214.html

Canadian Health Infoway (2006). Fulfilling the Promise 2005-2006 Annual Report. Retrieved from http://www2.infoway-inforoute.ca/Documents/Annual Report 05-06 EN.pdf

CIHI. (2011). Canadian Institute for Health Information. Retrieved from http://www.cihi.ca

Pascal, W.J. (2000). Canada E-health 2000: From vision to action. Health Canada. Retrieved from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/pubs/ehealth-esante/2001-vision-action-article/index-eng.php

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