When we started to develop the 2017-2020 Digital Health Canada Strategic Plan, one thing we recognized was a need for change – across our industry, across our professional members and member organizations, and across our association. Many of the expected changes and themes discussed by members, board, and management began to play out over this past year in significant and subtle shifts, including major tech players like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Salesforce moving into the health sphere and new partnerships developing between payers, solution providers, and healthcare service delivery organizations.
We also saw an increased focus on tech and innovation beyond the EHR and hospitals, with continued growth of patient engagement activity, home and community-based care models and innovations and federal funding allocated to consumer gateway development; continued growth and diversity of professionals and adjacent industries involved in digital health; and growing pressures to address the fundamental challenges in delivering high-quality cost-effective care to our aging population.
Our members and volunteers set out daily to address these challenges with passion, creativity, compassion, and innovation. Digital Health Canada will continue to fulfill our mission to connect, inspire, and educate these digital health professionals who are creating the future of health in Canada.
2017-18 results build on our foundation for continuous improvement
Thanks to the efforts of our exceptional members, volunteers, staff team, board of directors, and partners, Digital Health Canada delivered impact for members and the industry across many areas in 2017-18, including growth of our membership to 2,501 (a 14% increase over last year’s total of 2,201), both the largest and most diverse (in terms of member organization type, roles, and segments) membership body in organization history.
We focused on member engagement with the launch of Women Leaders in Digital Health Award, relaunch of Communities of Action (representing more than 85 volunteers engaged), and the addition of the Continuing Education Provider program to recognize our content partners and a Faculty Program to recognize Education contributors. We invested in our local presence with new regional events like Toronto’s Driving the Future of Digital Health, and increased our presence in more cities across Canada with MeetUps and Breakfast events that brought Digital Health Canada to more professionals and delivered new sponsorship opportunities. Finally, we modernized our brand to align with our future-focused strategy and to communicate the association story, mission, and values to members, stakeholders, and the industry. We also enhanced the overall member experience and increased web traffic by improving website user experience, publishing more than 20 industry-specific blog posts, and creating a more active social media presence.
Building momentum in 2018-19
Plans for the upcoming membership year include growth of both our general membership and membership in CHIEF: Canada’s Health Informatics Executive Forum; growth across regions with the launch of our regional chapter program; and growth in valuable member resources with the further expansion of Communities of Action and Education offerings. The upcoming year will see the development of a member-accessible Content Library populated with thought leadership resources, an update to the Resource Guide, expansion of our web-based education program, and development of a new certificate program – all in response to member requests for relevant, accessible education and professional development opportunities.
As we close out an important year in the history of the organization and launch into our first full fiscal year under our modernized Digital Health Canada brand, I look forward to growing momentum for the future with you while we continue to build on (and celebrate) the strong history that began boldly in 1975 with the launch of the Canadian Organization for Advancement of Computers in Health (COACH). Our foundation is our strength, and through change, we grow stronger for the future.