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Canada

Health Minister looks at digital solutions to improve access to care

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott gave a keynote speech at the Apps for Health conference at Mohawk College in Hamilton.
Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott gave a keynote speech at the Apps for Health conference at Mohawk College in Hamilton. 900CHML

The world of tech collided with the health care sector at Mohawk College on Thursday, as companies pitched their digital approaches to improving service delivery and patient outcomes.

The 7th annual Apps for Health conference registered 500 attendees and a host of innovators including Novari Health.

Vice President of Strategy Jonathan Bennett says the company offers software to health-care administrators, geared towards expediting access to care.

“It’s just really a question of the offices having access to that information” he said.

“Being able to know in real time, this is how long a patient has waited, this is how long they’re likely to wait.”

Bennett says the software also helps health-care providers evaluate the allocation of time based on the priority of a procedure while also showing information about where a patient could get care faster.

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Improving access to care is an area that federal Health Minister Jane Philpott was also keen to address during her keynote speech at the conference.

Philpott pointed to challenges faced by those with mobility issues, Canada’s aging population and those who live in remote areas, such as First Nations communities.

“People who live in the remotest regions of Canada often don’t get a diagnosis as quickly as they ought to. They certainly face tremendous difficulty in receiving treatment as a result of the access,” she said.

She noted: “We as Canadians spend hundreds of millions of dollars every single year to transport patients from their remote communities into a place where they can get the care they need.”

In order to address the issue,  Philpott said Canada needs to celebrate the kind of change that involves technology based solutions.

“We heard conversations about remote presence robotics technology, tele-medicine technology” she said.

“Canada is in fact extremely well-positioned to be a world leader in this broadening area.”

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