Notes from the 2022 Western Region Virtual Conferences

By Event Correspondent Gizman Ahmed, George Brown College

On March 28 & 29 2022, Digital Health Canada combined its annual Digital Health Canada/ANHIX Calgary Winter Conference and the Vancouver Ahead of the Curve Conference into one exciting event – The Digital Health Canada Western Region Virtual Conference. This event featured insightful presentations and interactive discussions led by Canadian and International healthcare leaders. Over 100 attendees from across Canada joined together to share experiences, challenges, and lessons related to healthcare equity, sustainability and the social determinants of health.

Day 1 Opening Keynote – Success and Lessons of Equitable and Sustainable Healthcare

Presenter: Rob McCulloch-Graham, Former Chief Officer at Scottish Borders Health and Social Care Partnership

Scotland has faced many healthcare challenges such as a fragmented health & social care system, health inequity across a geographically dispersed population, and resistant attitudes towards change. In 2018, a unifying national health strategy prioritizing preventive & digital health laid the foundation for significant improvements. For example, through a partnership with Strata Health, Scotland was able to establish:

  • Automated processes resulting in improved efficiencies & reduced costs
  • A shared platform for patient information
  • Improved accessibility of care through technologies such as telehealth
  • Opportunities for at-home care
  • Connections for patients to receive the right care at the right time

The pandemic severely limited physical access to health and social care services. The escalation of public needs resulted in pressure for quick and innovative solutions. The adoption of these new, digital solutions show how shifting public attitudes from resistance to acceptance is possible. People have the vision for better care, so one must give hope to residents for the improvement of health and social services.

Alberta Hot Topic 2: Anything but COVID!

Moderator: Kevin Jones, Senior Vice President, Canada, Strata Health Solutions

How will provinces manage surgical backlogs? What does continuity and access look like in the aftermath of the pandemic? How can we innovate in primary care delivery?

Across Canada, surgical backlogs are a significant issue. Some provinces plan to solve this problem through the allocation of more funding. Change management is another important area of concern. Clinical leaders in projects are key to facilitating implementation processes. Healthcare providers and vendors must work more collaboratively on projects. There is a need for healthcare standards and methods to enforce those standards.

How is AHS utilizing analytics to enable sustainability and equitability?

Presenter: Stafford Dean, Senior Program Officer – Analytics, Alberta Health Services (AHS)
Moderator: Brett Duncan – President and Public Sector Solutions representative, ANHIX and Ricoh Canada

“Digitize the person, not just the medical chart”

Alberta spends more per capita on healthcare than any other province. We need to understand the value we’re getting from the gap in spending. We must continuously improve our system to help decision makers and users make better use of data. The high demand for data analysis during the pandemic has resulted in an even greater need to modernize to new technologies.

Through partnership with EPIC, AHS implemented a province-wide, shared Clinical Information System called Connect Care. Connect Care extracts, transforms and loads data back into the AHS enterprise data warehouse providing clinical decision support in real-time. Data that can be acquired include clinical and patient reported outcomes, patient experiences, and clinical activity-based costing data. Challenges include the need to integrate Connect Care with non-hospital areas of the health care system such as primary & community care, the vast amount of data available, and the need to assess the value of the data. Moving forward, we need to seek physicians for their input based on their experiences with patients. Our goal is to have all healthcare entities able to work together within one integrated system.

Learn more about the annual Western Region Virtual Conference here.