All posts related to "pharmacist"

Digital Health in Canada

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.

Digital Health Care imagery

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:

  1. e-View – Secure online platforms that allow citizens to access their personal health information
  2. e-Visit – 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
  3. Virtual 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
  4. 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 these services?

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:

Virtual visits

e-Rx Renew

Other digital resources for arthritis

  • 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 Patients aim 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.

The Pharmacist: A key member of your healthcare team

Pharmacist Close upConsulting regularly with your healthcare team, including your doctor and pharmacist, is important for protecting your specific arthritis health issues. Physicians have the details of your medical history and the training to make a diagnosis and decision about your arthritis treatment.

Having said that, people see their pharmacists about eight times more often than their primary care physician. Pharmacists are important resources, based on the frequency that people with arthritis purchase over-the-counter treatments such as acetaminophen, nutritional supplements, splints, and prescription medications. Not only are pharmacists trained to prepare and dispense medications prescribed by physicians, they can also: Continue reading

A special message from Cheryl Koehn of Arthritis Consumer Experts

Dear Readers,

I am excited to announce a new partnership between Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE), the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (ARC), and Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix (“Shoppers”).

Arthritis sign at Shoppers Drug MartTogether the three partners have created a new health awareness campaign, part of which offers free arthritis prevention, screening and treatment information provided by pharmacists at more than 1,200 Shoppers stores across Canada. The initiative was announced today at a launch event in Toronto, which was attended by the Federal Minister of Health; Rona Ambrose, Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President, Dr. Jane Aubin; Shoppers Drug Mart Chief Executive Officer and President Domenic Pilla; as well as ACE and ARC executives. Continue reading

Innovative Health Care Approaches in New Zealand

Pharmacist and director of Pharmacy Partners Ltd. David Mitchell shared the innovative health care approaches of his home country, New Zealand. Mitchell was the keynote speaker of the 2013 BCPhA Annual Conference in Kelowna this past weekend.

Health Care Model Arthritis Consumer Experts were honoured with David Mitchell’s appearance in a lunch presentation on Monday. Mitchell reiterated his presentation from the conference to his Vancouver audience at the Metropolitan Hotel. In his presentation, he talked about what BC can learn from New Zealand’s pharmacy model and how it effectively manages chronic diseases, reduces costs and improves health care. He also discussed about one part of the model that may raise concerns for patients. Continue reading

New roles for pharmacists in future of Canada’s healthcare

Arthritis Broadcast Network asks Dr. Kam Shojania, “What role do you see for pharmacists in the future of arthritis healthcare?”

While representing arthritis consumers at the 2013 Canadian Rheumatology Association Annual Scientific Meeting, Arthritis Consumer Experts and ABN took the opportunity to interview rheumatologists, researchers, and consumers who attended the event. We talked to them about arthritis research and care, what they value from this annual conference, their views on the expanding role of pharmacists in the future of arthritis healthcare, and more.

In this video, we interviewed Dr. Kam Shojania from Vancouver, BC.