Quadruple Aims and digital health in Canada: We all have a role to play

Did it seem like January just flew by? This feels like a good time to take a moment and refocus on priorities and what we want to achieve in 2019, both for ourselves as individuals and for digital health and healthcare. One of my priorities as a digital health professional will be to maintain a focus on quality. I know, we all want to deliver quality solutions. But quality has different meanings in different settings, and it often loses out to efficiency, costs, or other requirements. In 2019, let’s strive to stay focused on quality solutions that address the needs of the patient, the constraints of the system in which we work, and the challenges facing providers.

These goals are well articulated in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) Triple Aim (TA) framework1, still the preeminent model for measuring health system performance. In 2014, the Triple Aims of improving patient experience, improving population health, and reducing costs expanded into Quadruple Aims with the inclusion of provider care2 as a fourth component of the framework.

Working toward upholding the Quadruple Aims (QA) in Canadian healthcare is a team effort, and digital health professionals play an important role in supporting the patient- and provider-centred goals of the QA framework. Plus, the ever-widening breadth of digital health – encompassing virtual care, telehealth, information management, system design, patient monitoring, and more – means the work we do as digital health professionals has an impact on all four framework components.

The expanding scope of digital health was a topic of discussion at the CHIEF Executive Forum Fall Symposium in October 2018, where public and private sector digital health leaders gathered to discuss the effective use of information management to improve health and healthcare in Canada. I enjoyed having the opportunity to debate and discuss key enablers in supporting transformation in the Canadian health system. We will be taking a deep dive into these topics at the CHIEF Executive Forum Spring Symposium (May 24+25, Toronto):

  • Enterprise Innovation to solve complex healthcare challenges
  • Data Liberation to enable improvements in population health and precision medicine
  • Artificial Intelligence Leadership – can machines help with diagnostic or data analysis tasks?

The fact that we can connect each of these topics to a QA is further proof of the growth and relevance of digital health. I am continually encouraged to see how our members’ discussion topics and publications align with our national healthcare priorities.

My position as Digital Health Canada Board President gives me a bird’s-eye view of the growth and activity taking place in the association right now. In addition to the anticipated Spring Symposium, Digital Health Canada is currently experiencing membership growth and strong regional conference attendance in Vancouver (Ahead of the Curve), Calgary (Digital Health Canada/ANHIX Conference), and Toronto (UpOnDIGITAL Update on Ontario Digital Health). To meet demand, event planners are searching for a way to fit more exhibitors on the e-Health Tradeshow floorspace.

We have a new association partner – Hacking Health – and a new member chapter in Atlantic Canada, with more to come. Read more about these initiatives in this issue.

I like to think this growth spurt followed my election as Board President, but there might be other factors in play . Chalk it up to the inspiring members who invest their time and energy into developing education content, writing publications, or crafting relevant programming for events. It could be due to Digital Health Canada’s unwavering commitment to supporting digital health professionals by offering opportunities for learning and connections.

One thing is clear. The association’s growth in size and relevance is keeping pace with the increasing scope and reach of digital health, both as a profession and as an integral part of health and healthcare delivery. We all have a role to play in supporting transformation in the Canadian health system. Let’s talk about the role digital health can play. Email me at president@digitalhealthcanada.com.

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