Tag Archives: personal eHealth

Mobile eHealth applications

As Mark can readily attest, I have been a vocal proponent of what I refer to as “Personal eHealth” applications.  Since there is no more personal IT device than a mobile phone, I was intrigued to find that there many eHealth applications on the Apple App Store.  Check out:


Mark, what do you think of the $139 EMR application for physicians?




eHealth 2009

It has been a little while since Mark and I last posted.  One of the challenges of having a “day job” when you publish a blog is balancing the various demands on your time with making time for regular blog posts.  One of the activities keeping us both busy at the moment  is getting ready for the annual eHealth conference hosted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and COACH, Canada’s health informatics association.  Both Mark and I will be attending and we anticipate that there will be several noteworthy announcements at the conference on which we can offer comments and background information. 

Will you be attending the eHealth conference?  If so, please take a few minutes to post your observations and join us in our analysis of annoucements and presentations at the confernece.  I’m very interested to see how Telus will promote their recent Healthvault announcement and whether vendors will unveil their plans for Healthvault-enabled applications.  Personal eHealth is getting considerable attention in various jurisdictions across the country and I hope to learn more about personal eHealth will move into the mainstream of Canadian eHealth.

I am also looking forward to the “Great Debate”, an perennial favourite at the eHealth conference.  Has anybody heard what topic will be debated this year?

Mark, how about you?  What do you think will be the big news at eHealth?  Are there any sessions that you plan to attend?

OPOR – The Patient Perspective

Perhaps one of the most powerful presentations during the OPOR conference was made by Doug Gosling, a 56-year man suffering from terminal prostate cancer.   Mr. Gosling offered a poingnant and very personal perspective on his use of the Internet to better understand and cope with his illness.  At one point, as Mr. Gosling shared the myriad of emotions he experienced over the past few years, you could have heard a pin drop in the room. 

Like me, Mr. Gosling has worked with IT most of his career. He applied this experience to his on-line quest and has thought deeply about how we might use this powerful tool to greater advantage.  His advice to the audience included:

– Stop producing more of the same.  He implored the audience to experiment with new ideas and new approaches.

– Better leverage what already exists including information, resources, and infrastructure.

– Identify and address the gaps. 

Mr. Gosling noted that there are many gaps to explore and that we should put more energy into exploring these gaps rather than re-creating what already exists.  According to Mr. Gosling these gaps include:

– The existing resources do not addess the entire patient journey.  

– Many resources seemingly ignore what Mr. Gosling refers to as “the emotional soundtrack” of journey.

– Access to resources is not universal nor is the information understandable in many cases to the layperson.

– Need more access to personal medical information.  According to Mr. Gosling there is a wealth of information about specific conditions an diseases but it is difficult to get access to one’s own medical information.

– The human element is missing.

While there were many good, informative presentations during the one-day event, I found Mr. Gosling’s to be the most compelling and the most useful.  We need to hear more from the potential users of Personal eHealth applications about what they need and the manner in which they want information presented.  As I have argued in past blog posts, I think that we need to take more a Product Management approach to developing Personal eHealth applications that starts with a firm understanding of what users want and how they will use on-line services and information as a tool to understand and manage their health.    We need to engage the end-user in the design of Personal eHealth applications, not develop applications that address what we think their needs might be.

I applaud Mr. Gosling for having the courage to share what is a very personal story in order to advance the development of Personal eHealth applications.  I only hope that we truly listen to what he has to say.  You can learn more about Mr. Gosling’s journey and his thoughts on the power of IT to help each of us better manage our health at his blog http://www.talkingaboutcancer.com/


One Patient, One Record (OPOR) Conference

Last week I attended the One Patient, One Record Conference in Toronto which was billed as a “one-day symposium to promote patient eHealth”. The conference was organized by Dr. Kevin Leonard, a University of Toronto professor and outspoken advocate of patient rights. Kevin believes that IT is a key ingredient for empowering patients to take a more active role in the health. Although I had hoped to live blog from the event, I was unable to find a suitable Internet connection. So, instead, I wrote blog entries during the event and will post them over the next week or so.

 I attended the conference as an individual passionately interested in Personal eHealth, not on behalf of my employer.  One of the topics that I hope explore through this blog is Personal eHealth and I felt that Kevin’s efforts deserved as much coverage as possible.  Hence, I asked Kevin for an invite and decided to attend on my own time.

Dr. Leonard suffers from a chronic disease and has experienced first-hand many frustrations in trying to treat his condition.  He opened the symposium by walking through, one by one, each of the 19 healthcare providers with whom he deals.  He noted that he had 19 distinct patient records and that it is not easy to either access or share these records.  As I have stated in several forums, Dr. Leonard made the point that we have an opportunity to improve healthcare outcomes and to reduce stress on the healthcare system by gettting patients more involved in their own care.  Just as other industries have used IT to shift some tasks their clients, so too can our healthcare system.

Consumer eHealth (what I prefer to call Personal eHealth) is a topic gaining considerable attention in both the private and public sector.  Infoway, for example, has added Personal eHealth to its agenda and appears to be working on Personal eHealth initiatives with Microsoft and Google.  As this topic gains increased profile a number of policy issues are need to be debated.  Dr. Leaonard opted to tackle these issues through open debate among conference attendees.  Scattered throughout the day was open debate on a number of questions.  These questions included: 

  • Should patients have to wait until to access their personal health information until it has been reviewed by a healthcare professional?
  • Should caregiver or the patient’s support network have the same access to the patient’s health information as the patient does (assuming permission granted by the patient or through “power of attorney”)?
  •  Should patients be able to control access to their own EHR to allow others access to certain segments of their EHR or to all of their record?
  •  Is there value in patients accessing their own health information (such as lab results / consult notes / radiology images) to enhance their ability to manage their own healthcare?
  • Will patient access to their EHR data / information improve patient safety outcomes, i.e., avoid duplicated tests, cross-effects of drug mixing, poor hospital outcomes?

 What are your thoughts regarding these questions?  Are there other key questions that need to be debated?