E-Health 2015: Making Connections

2015 e-Health Conference. Making connections, hacking health and meeting Maureen.

The annual e-Health Conference took place in Toronto this June, bringing together Canadian leaders in the fields of health information and effective integrated system solutions. This 15th edition of the conference embodied the theme making connections.

Some CIHIers enjoying themselves at our booth while at the  2015 e-Health Conference. Left to right: Greg Webster, Julie Bazerly, Kayley Rowsell, Denise Robinson and David O’Toole.

CIHI was one of this prestigious event’s co-hosts, partnering with COACH and Canada Health Infoway to host more than 1,500 delegates, a full complement of vendors and top-quality speakers.

Conference highlights: Keynote speakers

The event kicked off with an inspiring, illuminating keynote presentation by Kerry Munro.

Munro took Yahoo! Canada from a floundering business to the fastest-growing and best-performing business unit in Yahoo! worldwide, creating long-standing consumer relationships with more than 19 million Canadian subscribers a month in the process.

He spoke about how to best use technology and social communications tools to inform and engage the Canadian public.

“Our challenge is trying to connect not only with this generation, but the next generation and the one after that,” Munro said.

Bookending the conference keynote agenda was Dr. Samantha Nutt, with her closing presentation.

Dr. Nutt, an award-winning humanitarian and bestselling author, founded the international humanitarian organization War Child. Working with children and their families, War Child is at the front line of many of the world’s major crises.

She spoke about how we can help the least fortunate and most vulnerable people around the world. “Knowledge and experience matter; we need to take the time to deepen these strengths. Through e-health, we can train physicians and health care professionals from great distances. This is a way we can help.”

Hacking health: Solving problems with technology

The Hacking Health Design Challenge was a constant presence at e-Health 2015. A dedicated space on the exhibitor floor gave e-Health participants a chance to see the final sprint of a marathon — a hackathon — designed to pitch new solutions to long-standing health and health care problems.

Teams of health care experts, designers, developers, engineers, patients and mentors collaborated to co-create solutions and digital health prototypes for pressing health care challenges. Teams started together in person in March and then went virtual for 8 weeks, with meetups every 2 weeks, culminating in their last dash at e-Health.

After 48 hours of final tweaking, validation and testing, the teams presented their products to a panel of judges in front of the assembled e-Health Conference participants.

CIHI’s Kim Harvey was part of the judging panel and found the design challenge inspirational.

“I love the diversity of topics being tackled. It was great to see the energy and enthusiasm — not to mention the creative problem-solving — as the teams tackled these important problems. It was a real privilege to have had the opportunity to participate.”

CIHI presented the Health System Management Award to the team that produced Trigger, a prosthetic memory app that enables people with memory impairment to relive past moments in context, the way memories are meant to be experienced. For more about the apps that were created during the design challenge, see Sparkboard.

Have you met Maureen?

Perhaps the most popular person at e-Health was not there at all. Luckily, you could follow her on Twitter (@Maureen_eHealth) and monitor her case at the e-Health Showcase.

“Maureen” is an active 62-year-old. On a hiking trip, she experienced an injury that sent her on a journey through the health care system. That journey was illustrated by 3 different tours, showing how e-health solutions improve patient care.

A Continuity of Care Story introduced us to Maureen’s care cycle, from her initial X-ray (pre-surgery) through to her self-monitoring at home (post-surgery), when she also discovered a lump in her breast. Participants saw how patient care services, e-health applications and systems came together to improve Maureen’s health outcomes.

A Patient-Centred Care Story, Maureen receives surgery and undergoes inpatient and in-home rehabilitation. She uses e-health applications and portals to help her maintain her allergy list and health history, share her health information with her family and health care providers, communicate with her health care providers and track her rehabilitation progress.

An Analytics Story demonstrates how Maureen receives care at various organizations and how data is collected, aggregated, analyzed and disseminated to many stakeholders. Participants learned about a number of analyses that can be available to patients like Maureen, as well as dashboard and summary analyses available to providers, regional and system-level planners, and administrators. 

CIHI’s Derek Lefebvre discussed how CIHI takes health data from Maureen, and other patients like her, to populate the interactive web tool Your Health System.

Looking ahead: e-Health 2016

Canada’s health information and integrated systems experts will convene again next year in Vancouver for e-Health 2016.

While the setting may change, the goal remains the same: harnessing and leveraging our combined expertise to better inform, engage and serve Canadians, and the health care system that takes care of them.