By Event Correspondent Terece Brown, Health Informatics, Confederation College
On March 7, 2022, public and private sector digital health professionals met virtually at the annual UpOnDigital: Update on Ontario Digital Health Conference. Conference speakers explored Provincial digital health issues and provided updates on industry initiatives that occurred over the past year.
Early in the first session, leaders from Ontario Health and The Ministry of Health discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They highlighted the notable progress and government investments that were made towards improving the accessibility of virtual care systems and resources to support health system recovery.
A look back at the last two years and what’s ahead, presented by Matthew Anderson, Ontario Health, described Ontario Health’s learnings and recovery from the pandemic. The agency’s immediate goals revolve around addressing the accumulated care gap with the surgical waitlist identified as the most urgent issue.
Update from the Ministry of Health- Digital and Data presented by Angela Copeland Ontario Government, Christine Sham, Ontario Ministry of Health, and Greg Hein, Ontario Ministry of Health highlighted several digital health programs that are underway at The Ministry. Online patient booking was recognized as a work in progress with resistance from providers being emphasized as a continuous barrier. Furthermore, PHIPA and IT infrastructure modernization were identified as key components in improving health data usage and application. Optimizing safe data access and sharing through Ministry programs, such as Dialogue on Data, were remarked as necessary to improve patient experience, relieve the burden from health information custodians, and achieve the province’s broad digital health goals.