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BCATPR Workshop wrap-up

This year's workshop was our most successful to date, with over 140 participants in attendance. This was our first year hosting a poster session, and given the dialogue it created and positive response it received from the diverse group of attendees, we aim to do so again for future events. Congratulations to our poster winners, Nick Bansback ("Using Principles of Behavioural Economics in a Tablet-Based Decision Aid to Improve Treatment Decision-Making") in the regular category and Evgeny Vinnik and team ("Smartphone application to detect and prevent falls") for best student poster! These and other posters and presentation slides can be viewed at www.bcatpr.ca/workshops; we are uploading them as they come in, so check back frequently!

Workshop presentations featured examples of mobile apps used in health management and information delivery. Dr. Bonnie Spring stressed the importance of faster testing of apps to identify those that are harmful rather than beneficial to users. She additionally suggested that apps need not be sophisticated in order to be taken up and to produce positive results, and that social networks are among the more important factors in behaviour change outcomes. Our second speaker, Dr. Daniel Schwartz, presented an app that makes it easy to access and personalize journal article searches. A collaboration with other researchers, his company QxMD offers this and other medical apps for a variety of devices, most available free of charge. Dr. Keith Dawson and Hesham Nabih presented The Virtual Diabetes Centre website, Brande Strachan (filling in for Michele Lane) the HealthLinkBC website and BC Health Service Locator App, and Dr. Jonn Wu an app that uses existing information systems to improve workflow at the BC Cancer Agency. Jeff Barnett stressed the importance of acquiring a Privacy Impact Assessment with any technology that involves patient data as even Skype can breach privacy as outlined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Of note, according to Bill 73, personal information must be stored and accessed within Canada unless express consent is obtained from participants.

Cardiac Services BC sponsored this workshop, and exhibitors included the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, the eHealth Strategy Office, Medeo and Philips Lifeline.

A great day all-in-all, and we look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Survey Feedback: What do you think would facilitate uptake of telehealth solutions in BC?

During our post-workshop survey, we gathered opinions and received insightful feedback on the question: What do you think would facilitate uptake of telehealth solutions in BC? Attendees listed increased ministry and financial support and a unified provincial framework as possible solutions, along with more education, discussion and awareness needed on side of practitioners as well as the public. More support and resources regarding privacy issues was another suggestion, as was the development of an online archive of currently available telehealth information for easier accessibility. Other feedback included changing the fee-for-service model of care and loosening “misguided” privacy policies to speed up adoption of technologies and access to care. However, one person pointed out that uptake will be a slow process as the development of trust in new technology takes time.

Canada Health Infoway wants to hear about your digital health experiences

Canada Health Infoway has come up with a series of challenges which look at the impact digital health investments have been making in Canada. They are looking for participants to share their experiences for a chance to win cash, in hopes that the challenges will promote innovation in the area of digital health. The Patient Challenge asks participants to describe the impact of digital health on their experience as a patient or caregiver. The Career Impact Challenge looks at impact on professional careers, and the Business Impact Challenge at impact on businesses. More information is available on www.imaginenationchallenge.ca. The deadline is July 31, and more challenges are expected to be launched soon!

Telehealth identified in action plan to improve end-of-life care

Earlier this year, BC's Minister of Health announced an action plan to improve end-of-life care and the quality of life for people with life-limiting illnesses. A part of this action plan involves expanding telehealth services to be able to monitor patients' conditions at home. Because most patients prefer to die at home, this technology affords them that comfort by providing a less costly alternative to at-home care. In conjunction with this action plan, the BC government also made investments in the amount of several million dollars to several hospices, places within the community that offer palliative care in a more comfortable setting than hospitals. For some living in remote areas far from hospice facilities, however, telehealth may offer an alternative solution to hospital stay. More information about this new plan is available in the news and on the Ministry of Health website.

Call for Papers: Health Policy and Technology

Health Policy and Technology is the new journal of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine with a focus on health policy and the role of technology in health. The journal is currently taking submissions on the following topics for special content sections to be published this year. Topics include:

  • • Engaging with the policy makers: Deadline for submissions 15th August.
  • • Adopting Health Technology: Deadline for submissions 15th September.
  • • Personalized medicine: Deadline for submissions 15th October.

Other submissions are also welcome, and may include topics such as:

  • • Cross-national comparisons on health policy using evidence-based approaches
  • • Country studies on health policy to determine the outcomes of technology-driven initiatives
  • • Health technology, including drug discovery, diagnostics, medicines, devices, therapeutic delivery and eHealth systems
  • • Cross border eHealth including health tourism
  • • Health technology assessment (HTA) methods and tools for revaluating the effectiveness of clinical and non clinical health technologies
  • • eHealth systems
  • • Regulation and health economics

Visit www.healthpolicyandtechnology.com for more details!