In recent years, public and private health organizations in
Canada have invested in digital health technologies as a way to improve patient
experiences, outcomes and quality of care.
According to Valuing
Canadians’ Secure Access to Their Health Information and Digital Health e-Services,
a study commissioned by Canada
Health Infoway, there are four main types of digital health services:
Secure online platforms that allow citizens to access their personal health
– A patient e-service that allows patients and/or their caregivers the ability to
communicate with their healthcare team through secure e-mail or SMS messaging
visit – A patient e-service that allows patients and/or their caregivers the
ability to meet with their health care provider via a face-to-face virtual
encounter, through functions such as video calls
e-Rx Renew – A patient e-service that allows
patients and/or their caregivers to renew prescriptions
What are the benefits
of digital health?
Digital health is beneficial for health systems and
Canadians, particularly those living with arthritis. For example, digital
health services allow you to:
Avoid or reduce in-person visits to a healthcare provider’s office, helping you conserve energy and avoid prolonged periods of sitting in the car or public transit.
Increase productivity at work, as you are not taking time off work to see your healthcare provider.
Renew prescriptions online and see a history of past prescriptions.
Access care faster in rural and remote communities.
Access your digital health records, such as lab results. Many people with an inflammatory arthritis who are on a biologic or methotrexate get monthly blood tests. Monitoring these test results helps track disease activity and check that medications are not causing any issues.
In 2018, Canada Health Infoway conducted a national study on the value of digital health technology and found that Canadians collectively save $119 to $150 million every year from their use of virtual care and e-Services. Health systems save $106 to $134 million by reducing administration costs and helping Canadians avoid unnecessary in-person appointments, trips to the emergency room and medical errors.
How can I access
The Connecting Patients for Better Health: 2018 report provides the latest availability, use and citizen interest in accessing their health information online as well as digitally enabled health services (e-services). The report is based on the results of four public opinion surveys conducted between February and March 2014 – 2018. There is an increased demand for digital health services. The number of people surveyed who accessed medical records electronically doubled, from 7% in 2016 to 15% in 2018.
Canada Health Infoway, a non-profit agency sponsored by the federal government, is working towards improving access to digital health services in Canada. Many health care centres are also working independently to provide their patients with online services. Consider asking the receptionist to see if any e-services are available at your healthcare provider’s office. Here are some examples of digital health services currently available in Canada:
In some provinces, patients have access to their medical records and or lab results online:
Arthritis ID is an app for patients that provides information to help detect, treat and manage arthritis. There is an interactive arthritis screening tool and questionnaire that will help you determine indications of a type of arthritis.
JointHealth™ Medications Guide enables patients to have a meaningful conversation with their rheumatologist and pharmacist about available therapy options, side effects and route of administration.
JointHealth™ Education courses help people living with arthritis learn to have more meaningful, fact-based conversations with their rheumatologists, other health care team members, families, friends and employers.
The Biosim•Exchange is an information hub for consumers to get the latest biosimilars news to help patients learn more biosimilars and their place among inflammatory arthritis treatments.
Arthritis Research Canada’s ANSWER: Decision Aid for Patientsaim to help you decide if methotrexate is the right treatment option for you. You should use this tool only if you have rheumatoid arthritis and if your doctor has suggested methotrexate as a treatment option.
Des déplacements sans douleur peut-être ? Plus de solutions pour aider les personnes atteintes d’arthrite ? En cette période des Fêtes, partagez avec nous votre liste de souhaits liés à l’arthrite !
Cette année, pour sa campagne des Fêtes, le comité ACE (Arthritis Consumer Experts) vous demande de partager votre liste de souhaits liés à l’arthrite en utilisant le mot-clic de sa campagne : #MyArthritisWishList. Le comité ACE fera de même en espérant que ce partage fera avancer la recherche et nous mènera vers le plus d’avancées possibles dans le domaine médical. Voici quelques souhaits qui nous sont parvenus la semaine dernière :
« J’aimerais bien que mon médecin de famille mette dans la salle d’attente des documents d’information/ressources à la disposition des personnes atteintes d’arthrite. » – abonné ACE, #MyArthritisWishList
« Ma fille est atteinte de polyarthrite rhumatoïde et prend l’autobus pour se rendre à l’école tous les jours. On la regarde de travers quand elle insiste pour avoir un siège. J’aimerais bien que les gens comprennent que l’arthrite est une maladie qui n’est pas nécessairement apparente. » – Une maman inquiète, #MyArthritisWishList
Pour participer à la campagne #MyArthritisWishList, vous pouvez :
nous envoyer un courriel pour nous parler de votre ou vos souhaits liés à l’arthrite : email@example.com
partager votre souhait sur Facebook ou Twitter et y inclure le mot-clic #MyArthritisWishList
partager, aimer et commenter les publications affichées sur #MyArthritisWishList
Nous fournirons un résumé des souhaits de la campagne #MyArthritisWishList le 8 janvier 2019 et nous engageons à utiliser cette liste pour orienter, pendant l’année à venir, nos efforts de programmation en matière d’information, de recherche et de défense du dossier de l’arthrite.
C’est un appel à travailler tous ensemble et à exprimer haut et fort l’espoir que les souhaits de chacune de nos listes soient exaucés cette année !
Do you want to travel pain-free? Do you wish there were more ways to help people living with arthritis? Share your wish list with us this holiday season!
For this year’s holiday campaign, Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) is asking you to share your arthritis wish list using our campaign hashtag #MyArthritisWishList. ACE will do the same, and hope that through continued community sharing, research and medical advances are possible. Here are a few wishes from last week:
“I wish my family doctor would make arthritis resources available in the waiting room.” – ACE Subscriber, #MyArthritisWishList
“My daughter lives with rheumatoid arthritis and buses to school every day. She gets dirty looks when she asks for a seat. I wish people understood that arthritis is an invisible disease.” – Concerned mother, #MyArthritisWishList
To participate in the #MyArthritisWishList campaign, please:
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your arthritis wish or wishes
Share your wish on our Facebook or Twitter and include the hashtag #MyArthritisWishList
Share, like, and comment on #MyArthritisWishList posts
We will provide a #MyArthritisWishList summary on January 8, 2019, and promise to use it as ACE’s guiding light for our advocacy, research and information programming over the next year.
Here’s to speaking out and working together to make everyone’s arthritis wishes come true!
Working with your physiotherapist to treat your arthritis pain and symptoms
Physiotherapy is often part of a well-balanced treatment plan for many of the more than 100 types of arthritis. It focuses on maintaining, restoring or improving physical function as well as preventing and managing pain, through the use of non-medication treatments.
When choosing a physiotherapist, it is important to look for someone who has experience treating your type of arthritis, if possible. As well, it is important that you feel comfortable with your therapist, and that you relate well on a personal level.
A physiotherapist will examine your body, and assess things like joint range-of-motion, muscle strength, and swelling or instability in affected joints. A physiotherapist will also likely look at any diagnostic imaging-like x-rays-that you have had done, as well as results from any laboratory testing-for example, blood tests or joint aspirations. Finally, the therapist will want to hear from you about your symptoms, mobility, and changes in your body. Then, using the assessment above, the physiotherapist develops a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to the client’s needs. Some of the treatments used by physiotherapists include: Continue reading →
Image courtesy of digital art at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
According to findings from a recent study, poor patient-provider communication and care coordination result in increased damage in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). If you would like to learn more about how to best communicate with your rheumatologist and physician, please visit JointHealth™ Education and take Lesson 1: The Art of communicating with your rheumatologist.
The research, titled “Relationship Between Process of Care and a Subsequent Increase in Damage in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus” was published in Arthritis Care & Research. The team wanted to understand how data from the Lupus Outcome Study could be used to evaluate healthcare interactions and subsequent accumulation of damage by the disease over two years.
As part of an international network of RA patient organizations, Arthritis Consumer Experts invites you to participate in a global survey of RA patients to examine the diagnosis, treatment and care they receive for their RA. The goal of this survey is to understand, from the patient experience and perspective, how current “models of care” for rheumatoid arthritis compare between countries.
Your experience and perspective matter
As a person living with RA, sharing your experiences about the care you receive is vitally important. With your help, we can meet the study goals and develop education and information programs to improve patients’ understanding about RA models of care to enable the best treatment outcomes possible in Canada.
How you can participate
If you agree to participate, you will be asked to answer a survey questionnaire, which should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. All the information gathered during the survey will be combined to protect your privacy and anonymity.
To be eligible to participate in this survey, you must:
Be 18 years of age or older
Receive health care in Canada
Have access to the internet
Thank you for considering our request to participate in this survey. Your participation will help you and other people living with RA in your country know more about the health care they should be receiving.
In 2008, a rheumatology workforce analysis report published by the American College of Rheumatology Workforce Study Advisory Group concluded:
Based on assessment of supply and demand under current scenarios, the demand for rheumatologists is expected to exceed supply in the coming decades. Strategies for the profession to adapt to this changing health care landscape include increasing the number of fellows each year, utilizing physician assistants and nurse practitioners in greater numbers, and improving practice efficiency.
Fast forward to 2015
The 2015 ACR/ARHP Workforce Study of Rheumatology Specialists in the United States projects a shortage of 3,845 rheumatologists in the U.S. by 2025, an increase from the 2005 ACR Workforce Study, which projected a shortage of 2,576 rheumatologists. Reasons for the shortage include: Continue reading →
New bike lane could impact people living with arthritis and other disabilities
An online petition for people who are concerned about the City of Vancouver’s proposed 10th Avenue Corridor Project is open for signatures until December 12, 2016. The petition has been started by a group on behalf of clients, staff and patient advocates of the various medical centres along the Health Precinct area (from Cambie Street to Oak Street).
The group argues that there is an increased risk to the safety of patients and public coming into and leaving the Health Precinct area, including the Mary Pack Arthritis and Eye Care Centres. Easy and safe access for elderly, mentally, physically, sight and hearing challenged patients is critical to providing the kind and quality of care they need.
“Fundamentally, bike lanes are an important part of Vancouver’s desire to be a world class ‘green’ city, which we fully support,” says Cheryl Koehn, person with rheumatoid arthritis and Founder and President of Arthritis Consumer Experts. “But increasing congestion of both bikes and cars through several city blocks where patients are struggling to get from point A to point B is simply poorly thought out.”
To read more about the 10th Avenue Corridor Project, please click here.
The humanities come in many forms – literature, music, art, drama – and provide us perspective on what it means to be human. They can also provide benefits for patients and their healthcare professionals, said American College of Rheumatology (ACR) annual meeting keynote speaker, Dr. Paulette Hahn, Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Medicine at the University of Florida.