“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
- Stephen Hawking
COACH was formed in 1975 by a visionary group of health professionals and healthcare industry vendors. They recognized that significant sharing of ideas, exchange of emerging best practices, and collaborative work effort are necessary to enable Canadian health institutions to effectively use information technology and systems. COACH founders identified health informatics as a separate healthcare industry challenge and created COACH as a platform for addressing the key issues.
Since then, both the healthcare and the health informatics (HI) industry has evolved considerably. Initial resistance to change in the early days has now given way to broad acceptance of the benefits of HI: improved quality and safety of care; time and cost savings
for practitioners, insurers and patients; and public health improvements due to increased patient participation.
COACH has lived through significant change over the past four decades. And there’s more to come: one study predicts the digital health products and services market will reach US$200B by 2020*. Tremendous career opportunities are opening up for HI professionals in all aspects of the digital health ecosystem including health delivery organizations, policy and system management, vendor organizations, start-ups and consulting firms. Universities now offer post-graduate degrees in Health Informatics and Health Information Science, and the influx of young professionals into HI is invigorating the industry.
COACH is continuing our 40-year tradition of meeting the challenges and opportunities that come with change. We serve Canadian digital health professionals by offering education, thought leadership, and networking events, with an additional focus on
the power of the connections available to members through COACH. One of the best things about COACH is that we bring together stakeholders, organizations, communities, and networks across many sectors and domains, and foster connections by creating opportunities for collaboration, shared learning, and working together to meet industry challenges
Over the past year we have been discussing a change to our mission (why we exist) and our vision (what we aspire to achieve)
COACH Mission: Connect, inspire, and educate digital health professionals who are creating the future of health in Canada.
COACH Vision: Foster connections in the digital health community, incubate knowledge, and advocate for professional members and the industry.
Our values (how we conduct ourselves as an organization) will stay the same.
- Demonstrate leadership by introducing innovation that accelerates the transformation of health service delivery
- Value collaboration through sharing of digital health and health informatics knowledge and experience with others
- Recognize the diversity of our membership
- Remain committed to continuous learning
- Be guided by professionalism, integrity and ethics
- Respond to and serve the needs of the members and the health system
Once you start embracing change it’s hard to stop.☺ Also in the works is a rebranding exercise that will help us zero in on what COACH means to members, and fine-tune our messaging and product offerings.
The digital health industry won’t stop evolving any time soon, and neither should we. As one of the first to recognize the promise of health informatics, and thanks to our shared deep knowledge of HI and the healthcare system, enabled by our trust relationship with our valued members, COACH remains, 40 years on, Canada’s dominant HI professional organization. I challenge all of us to continue to evolve; to hold on to what the past has taught, discard what is no longer useful, and move confidently forward together to realize the full potential of digital health.