Tag Archives: South West LHIN

Guest Blog – South West LHIN Consumer eHealth Innovation Session

Richard Booth is a nurse and PhD candidate with a strong interest in the use of information in the delivery of healthcare services.  Richard has a particular interest in social media and is doing what he can to educate fellow clinicians on the power of social media.

Richard and I both attended the recent Consumer eHealth Innovation Session hosted by the SouthWest LHIN.  We both actively tweeted from the event and I asked Richard if he would write down this thoughts for a guest blog post.  The remainder of this post contains Richard’s observations on the event.

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On June 30th, 2011, I had the opportunity to attend the South West LHIN’s “Consumer eHealth Innovation Session” held at The University of Western Ontario. As described in Michael’s previous blog post, the event was billed to provide a venue for attendees to see how various eHealth tools were being used to support the LHIN’s eHealth strategic plan. On the agenda were a number of companies and organizations working with the SWLHIN, including Telus, Microsoft, thehealthline, Sensory Technologies, Sykes, Patientway, OTN, and CareLink.

Unfortunately, I was not able to arrive to the session until around 10:00am which meant I missed the introduction by Glenn and presentations given by both Telus and Microsoft. I’ll touch upon some of the points from each presentation I attended and outline what I thought to be salient:

  • thehealthline.ca was presented by Brian Ashby. This online portal to health information in the SWLHIN looks to be a fantastic resource – similarly, the document “Help yourself through hard times” is a booklet that organizes all the key community and social resources that may be required by individuals and their families during “hard times”. What I think makes this document invaluable is that each organization/agency listed in the booklet has a descriptor of the services offered and hours of operation. This document is freely available on the thehealthline.ca website.
  • Sensory Technologies spoke about their eShift 2.0 model for homecare. In a nutshell, in an eShift delivery model, nurses work remotely and act as a delegator and knowledge broker of healthcare. Personal Support Workers (PSWs) with extra training deliver the health services to the client, in the client’s home. The PSWs and nurses are connected by way of an iPhone, and if the nurse deems further care is required, a higher skilled assessment can be authorized and delivered to the client. I believe my tweet related to this presentation summarized my feelings regarding this care delivery shift: “eShift 2.0 is a delivery model I need to examine more closely. Like it or not, this typology of care delivery is the future #swlhin.” I will be curious to see how regulators like the College of Nurses of Ontario respond to the remote monitoring of patients by nurses and unregulated healthcare providers, like that outlined in the eShift 2.0 model.
  • Sykes presented next, introducing a self-management care model – CareCoach and teletriage. The presenters also listed various other services offered by Sykes, including chronic disease management, tobacco cessation services, and health education services.
  • PatientWay had an engaging presentation outlining their kiosk and way finding solutions that are currently used in a number of healthcare organizations around Ontario. Their concise and succinct presentation outlined how the use of their systems had significantly reduced costs for organizations, and at times, facilitated an increase in engagement by consumers. Jay from PatientWay described to me that by engaging consumers in a meaningful and productive fashion during their healthcare interaction(s), you can sometimes reduce the anxiety and stress of the situation. I guess the old mantra of ‘an active mind is a healthy one’ rings true in this instance. By engaging consumers during their various ‘wait times’ (i.e., waiting for registration or information taking), you can potentially increase efficiency and engagement consumer in the health process.
  • Laurie from Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) presented next, outlining the results of their pilot research examining the effectiveness of remote monitoring technologies to support the healthcare of consumers suffering from chronic illness at home. Nurses at a family health team would remotely ‘check’ the results of their assigned clients in the community and decisions regarding care were made appropriately. At the end of the four month study, Laurie stated that many of the clients wanted to keep the remote monitoring technology as they had found value in its use. Yet again, another call to engage consumers in a meaningful fashion and move away from purely paternalistic approaches of health delivery.
  • Finally, CareLink provided an interesting presentation on their suite of remote monitoring technology. The range of monitoring technologies offered by CareLink to ‘wire’ a house was extremely impressive. If/Than programming could be directly fed into the smart house to enable prompts to be pushed to caregivers in the circle of care (e.g., if Grandma doesn’t open the fridge and/or her pill bottles by 0900, a message is sent to caregivers prompting of the situation). Video cameras and other sorts of surveillance systems were also offered by CareLink as a means of being able to view in real time, a loved one living at home. In other words, CareLink modifies the current suite of home security technology for use within a health/individual monitoring context. What was not touched upon in the presentation were the potential ethical and privacy issues related to this type of invasive surveillance. Although I can see the functionality of this technology for some cognitively compromised populations, it does raise some important issues regarding autonomy and dignity.

The Innovative Ideas Workshop occurred after lunch – we were tasked with answering three brief questions related to how the technologies/ideas presented over the morning could be used to assist healthcare of individuals. The 30 minute task led to some interesting (and at times divided) discussions in the small breakout groups. This eventually fed into a large group feedback session led by Glenn who asked all groups to report their findings. In sum, these were the salient ideas I captured and tweeted during the discussion:

  • LTC patients, and repatriating to the home is ‘doable’, but should be looked at closer as it is currently a difficult and cumbersome process
  • We need to examine the 5 percent of the population who are the highest users of the health system. Engage and utilize eHealth in these areas appropriately improve care and reduce inefficiency.
  • Need to refocus on the consumer; vendors need to work together to achieve this.
  • Homecare is “imminently important”
  • Business drivers from healthcare are currently missing – we need to use the data that the government currently has to help build a better business case
  • Accountability – need more discussion on this topic, from all angles, including patients, clinicians, consumers, vendors, government, etc.

Upon closing, Glenn stated that he hopes to hold another event in six months time. The unfortunate lack of tweeting from the event was a bit of a surprise – the smartphone penetration in the room was 100% (we did a show of hands). At future events, I hope participants utilize twitter in a bit more functional and consistent manner. Similarly, I believe future events would benefit from having ‘consumer groups’ in attendance. There were a number of specific consumer groups mentioned and highlighted during the workshop (e.g., homecare, ALS, diabetes, mental health, long-term care, etc.). It would be interesting (and probably dynamic) to have these stakeholder groups present during the presentations and discussion. Finally, I was disappointed at the number of clinicians in attendance. At one point during the morning, a show of hands was requested for “practicing clinicians”. I counted only five or six out of the audience of well over 50. Although the reasons for the lack of clinician attendance is probably extremely multidimensional (e.g., workload, scheduling, potential lack of interest, etc.), it does warrant further reflection.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the workshop. This was the first event that I’ve been to with eHealth vendors which felt collaborative, rather than competitive. Equally, it was one of the few instances where talk of ‘technology’ generally took a backseat to the ‘client’ and ‘health’. Normally at eHealth events, the discussion is extremely techno-medical-centric. This Consumer eHealth Innovation Session was a breath of fresh-air.

Richard Booth, RN, MScN

Engaging health IT vendors

Although my viewpoint is probably somewhat biased given my day job with a heath IT vendor, I hold the firm conviction that the health IT vendors have an important and valuable role to play in helping shape local, regional, provincial, and national health IT plans.   The extent to which organizations across Canada consult with vendors outside the formal procurement process varies considerably, though I am noting a gradual trend towards more meaningful engagement.

A number of healthcare IT organizations including Canada Health Infoway, Manitoba eHealth, and the Chief Health Information Officer’s office at the  Nova Scotia Department of Health, for example, hold periodic briefing sessions.   In addition, ITAC Health works with organizations such as eHealth Ontario to organize vendor information sessions.

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, one of the more innovative organizations with respect to vendor engagement is the South West LHIN.  Shortly after joining the organization, Glenn Lanteigne, the LHIN CIO, instituted what he calls “Vendor Fridays”.  These 2 to 3 hour sessions provide an opportunity for vendors to offer insight into how their products and services can help the LHIN achieve its strategic objectives.  Equally important, these sessions provide a forum for vendors to chat with LHIN IT staff and interested provider stakeholders about their needs.

Not content with the information flow that “Vendor Fridays” has engendered, the South West LHIN recently invited vendors to participate in a “Consumer eHealth Innovation Day”.   This “public – private sector” workshop is the first of five workshops designed, in Glenn’s words, to “address real-life LHIN issues and explore how these types of solutions can help and how“.   Other topic areas that will be addressed in future workshops align with the LHIN eHealth strategy.  These areas include Capacity Management, Decision Support, Quality, and the Electronic Health Record.

The Consumer eHealth Innovation workshop will take place on Thursday, June 30th, at the University of Western Ontario’s Research Park Convention Centre.  You can find more details here or by calling 519-640-2592 or emailing Jordan.lange@LHINS.ON.CA.

What do you think of the South West LHIN’s efforts to meaningful engage health IT vendors?  Do you have any suggestions for how healthcare organizations can meaningfully engage health IT vendors?

Mike

 

Yet another way that the South West LHIN is engaging vendors

Glenn Lanteigne and his team at the South West LHIN continue to find new and innovative ways to engage the vendor community.    Last fall they instituted the highly successful Vendor Friday series that offers individual vendors the opportunity to meet with LHIN staff plus invited members of the health community. Recognizing the opportunity that a quickly evolving and rapidly growing range of Consumer eHealth technologies presents, Glenn and his team recently announced the first Consumer eHealth Innovation session.

According to a recent chat with Glenn, the Consumer eHealth Innovations sessions will be held periodically throughout year so that vendors can meet with health service providers, physicians and others interested in emerging Consumer eHealth solutions to explore how these technologies can support the LHIN’s eHealth Strategic Plan. The first session will take place on  Thursday, June 30th, at the University of Western Ontario’s Research Park Convergence Centre.  The invitation on the South West LHIN web site states that attendees will “not only learn about the latest developments in personal health records, patient monitoring, consumer navigation of the health care system, and mobile technologies”, they will also “see how these and other tools support the LHIN’s eHealth Strategic Plan.”

Given the significant interest in Consumer eHealth, I expect that the limited number of spaces for this event will go quickly.  RSVP by June 23, either by calling 519-640-2592 or emailing Jordan.lange@LHINS.ON.CA.

Mike

 

LHIN Tweets

In a blog post earlier this year (What are LHIN boards discussing?) I noted that Ontario LHINs are using various mechanisms to inform people about LHIN board meetings.   I discovered last week that at least one LHIN, the South West LHIN, is experimenting with live tweeting at board meetings.

When I saw that the Director, Communications & Customer Service, Julie White (who I only know through Twitter and email), was tweeting from the most recent board meeting, I email’d her to learn a little more about why she was doing so and what she was learning from the experience.  This blog post summarizes our email exchange.

When did you start tweeting?

“I began tweeting a year ago when I worked for the South East LHIN and I was doing community engagement roadshows across the LHIN. The goal then was to begin conversations before we got to certain towns/villages, to promote our events and then to continue the conversations afterwards.”

Why did you decide to tweet from the board meeting?  Is this initiative part of an overall communications plan or ad-hoc activity?

“I am currently revising our corporate communications plan for the LHIN, but in the interim, we have been focused in two areas: joining the social network conversation and getting the good news out about the successes we have had within our LHIN. I’ve tweeted from Board meetings before, but not in any concerted or planned way as of yet. Today I had my laptop with me (monitoring other issues during the meeting), so tweeting some details of the meeting seemed natural – but was totally unplanned.”

“It’s another step in being open, transparent and accountable.”

“We also cover a large geographical area and rarely have on-site media coverage, so tweeting makes sense in order to share ideas and thoughts with the community”

Are members of the board aware that you are tweeting from board meetings?

“If you were to ask the majority of them what tweeting was, you may have some interesting answers! That said, we are starting to measure our social media efforts (very crudely right now) and roll up those results in our communications report to the Board’s Committee meeting every month.”

Did you get any feedback on your tweets for this most recent board meeting?

“I didn’t get any direct response – and struggle right now from the pushing out of information to the true engaging opportunity that could result. I’m looking for that balance!”

P.S.  If you don’t what a “tweet’ is, check out http://www.twitter.com.  Although both the name and the underlying concept might seem a little silly at first, twitter is quickly becoming a powerful tool for keeping people informed and engaged.

New eHealth Ontario CEO outlines his plans and priorities

Both Mark and I have written in the past about the need for eHealth Ontario to better communicate with its stakeholders:

https://ehealthmusings.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=161

https://ehealthmusings.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=142

I am pleased to see that immediately after his formal appointment as the new eHealth Ontario CEO Robert Reed is talking to the press.  I understand that he was interviewed by CBC (I have yet to listen to the interview) and there was a short article quoting Mr. Reed on the 680 News web site:

http://www.680news.com/news/local/article/42677–greg-reed-new-ceo-of-ehealth-ontario

Next step, I respectfully suggest, Mr. Reed,  is to open a two way dialog with the public.  I encourage Mr. Reed to explore social media tools and techniques.  The Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT in the U.S. offers some examples of how these tools might be used as do some of the Ontario LHINs (e.g. South West LHIN’s use of twitter).   Whatever tools you choose to use, I encourage Mr. Reed and the eHealth Ontario board to be as open and transparent as possible about their plans and priorities and to seek input whenever possible from as many people as possible.

Mike

What are LHIN boards discussing?

Earlier this year I discovered that many LHINs are publishing information related to board meetings.  For example, check out http://www.southwestlhin.on.ca/Page.aspx?id=280 and http://www.southeastlhin.on.ca/boardmeeting.aspx?id=280.

Interestingly, these two LHINs offer vastly different levels of detail regarding board discussions. The South East LHIN, for example, publishes documents related to the business arising at each board meeting in addition to detailed board minutes.  As an example, minutes from the Finance Committee are included.  Minutes from the Jan 11th Finance Committee  meeting indicated that the LHIN received a a 2% increase ($92,000) for the 2009/2010. The South West LHIN, on the other hand, only provides a summary of board discussions.

I encourage people to check out the Board of Directors section of their local LHIN website.  A list of all LHIN web sites can be found at http://www.lhins.on.ca

Mike