The coming together of digital technologies with the provision of medicine is meant to improve efficiency and enhance patient care. At the Partners in the Power of Information Sharing conference, hosted by IMAGINE CITIZENS Collaborating for Health and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, participants learned about digital solutions to improve health care experiences and outcomes, and how they can become active partners in shaping how technology will boost their health care system. The event, held at the Red and White Club in Calgary with remote locations in Edmonton and Peace River, was well-attended with 228 in-person participants and over 300 livestream participants throughout the province.

Health and technology literacy

The day-long event included four keynotes and an afternoon panel discussion on the power of digital health. The presenters discussed what is in development for digital medicine tools and what is available now, as well as shared personal patient experience stories that have inspired them to seek change and technological advancements. One of the presentations was Improving Care Coordination and Care Quality with Technology, delivered by Larry Sylvestre, President, X-Tend Consulting 

Improving Care Coordination and Care Quality with Technology
Larry Sylvestre, President, X-Tend Consulting

Through technology, health care is becoming consumer-oriented, predictive, hyper-personalized and people-powered as consumers are increasingly being provided with options to manage aspects of their own care. While Canada has one health care system, PCNs and individual physicians - from a government and operational perspective – are seen as separate entities, so the data are disconnected and care is not coordinated.

Artificial intelligence holds promise in addressing some health care challenges, but it needs data to unlock its true machine-learning potential. There are a lot of opportunities for AI to improve health care: 

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Artificial intelligence holds promise in addressing some health care challenges
Watch Larry Sylvestre's presentation
Improving Care Coordination and Care Quality with Technology. Larry Sylvestre, President, X-Tend Consulting.
Doctor first, then Google and family members the most trusted source of health information

Throughout the day, attendees were invited to participate in many engagement opportunities including billboard questions where Calgary attendees would respond with their thoughts written on sticky notes; several “World Café” group discussions; and live digital polls. 

The answers to the live poll asking “Using only one or two words, what is one of your most trusted sources of health information?” were assembled into a word cloud:

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Using only one or two words, what is one of your most trusted sources of health information?

Attendees also answered questions about their knowledge of Alberta Health’s MyHealth Records and how confident they would be using their health information to improve their overall health experience. They were also asked to rate their experience with continuity of care:

Based on your own experiences with our health care system, would you say the continuity of your care has generally been…?

  • Only 21% felt the continuity of their care was ‘very good’ or ‘good’.
  • 73% said it was ‘fair’ or ‘poor’.
The role of citizens in the future of digital health

In its review of the event, IMAGINE said there is still work to be done before citizens (who are often also patients) can confidently use their complete health record to achieve optimal health. The concept of “complete health record” needs to be well understood by everyone in order to be used effectively as a tool in partnership with care providers.

Watch the complete conference presentations

The O’Brien Institute for Public Health uploaded a recording of all the presentations for those unable to attend the conference.

If you want to learn more about the conference and future engagement opportunities with IMAGINE, please visit their website.

Recording of all presentations

About IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health 

IMAGINE is an independent citizen-led initiative. Its focus is on engaging Albertans and health care professionals to work together to design an integrated, person-centered system that achieves the best possible experiences and outcomes for patients and their families. All Alberta citizens are invited to connect and join the conversation. More about IMAGINE

About O'Brien Institute for Public Health

The O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary supports research in population health and health services and uses the knowledge gained to inform community, policy and health practice stakeholders. More about the O’Brien Institute.

Banner photo credit: Pablo Fernandez of O’Brien Institute for Public Health

References available upon request.