Letter: Canadian Digital Health Professionals stand ready to deliver innovative healthcare solutions during COVID-19 pandemic

 

From: Digital Health Canada and TECHNATION Health (formerly ITAC Health)

Date: April 2, 2020

To: Provincial Health Ministers

Dear Minister,

On behalf of our members, Digital Health Canada and TECHNATION Health commend the leadership shown thus far in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are particularly appreciative of those jurisdictions that have decided to advance the use of current virtual care and telemedicine practices and technologies. The continued delivery of innovative best practices and digital transformation projects is a critical success factor for enhancing the health and wellbeing of Canadians, while ensuring a sustainable healthcare system through continued improvements in efficiency, efficacy, and effectiveness.

Our members from healthcare organizations across Canada advise that the situation on the frontline grows increasingly challenging. Healthcare leaders are rapidly decreasing clinic volumes, canceling non-essential procedures, and preparing to treat a large volume of patients with complex needs.

Industry leaders are poised to help. Capacity and resources exist to take on specific areas of responsibility or backfilling for critical information and technology resources who are being redeployed. These actions are important to ensure critical systems continue to operate.

We urge leaders to maintain focus on the twin goals of alleviating strain on the Canadian health system and mitigating potential economic downturn. It is strongly recommended that leaders carefully consider the delay or cancellation of important digital health delivery projects which may be delivered through remote work.

Digital health project development is uniquely suited to a remote work environment; industry resources can continue to meet deliverables without increasing the COVID-19 infection curve or adding stress to the health system in which they work. Areas in which industry is already providing assistance include: expansion of thehealthline.ca services, including triage applications and surge support capacity; configuration and expansion of public health applications to better support contact tracing and case definitions; expansion of virtual care including triage, virtual visits, and monitoring; ongoing backfill support for critical applications; and provision of analytics, data management, and reporting support for the massive data sets that can and should be collected to support the management of this pandemic.

Our members include innovative health service organizations and industry solution providers with the global experience and expertise to maintain momentum in digital transformation projects via remote practices, methodologies and tools. It’s imperative that industry, providers, patients, and government continue to work together to meet the needs of Canadians, and the Canadian health infrastructure.

Canadian digital health professionals stand ready to deliver the innovative healthcare solutions needed to support the worldwide goal of flattening the COVID-19 infection curve, ensuring the safety of front-line care providers, reducing the strain on finite hospital resources, and mitigating any negative impact on the national economy.

As their association representatives, we make ourselves available to collaborate with you to discuss any potential ideas or solutions our members can provide.

Sincerely,

Mark Casselman
CEO, Digital Health Canada

Elaine Huesing
Executive Director, TECHNATION Health (formerly ITAC Health)


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