Throughout Digital Health Week, the medical community is abuzz with articles about innovation - from new software to the future of AI to e-health capabilities and more.
It’s exciting, but begs an important question: can these digital health innovations be applied in a practical way? Can busy and budget-conscious Canadian medical clinics really benefit from the digital health week chatter?
The answer is yes - any healthcare provider can benefit from adopting compliant, tested, and cost-effective technologies. The problem? It can take quite a bit of digging to find innovative solutions that actually make sense for your practice. So, we decided to do the research for you!
Here are 6 fantastic, affordable tools your clinic can try this Digital Health Week.
1. Save time and make decisions faster than ever with Auxita
Most EMRs were designed with a basic purpose in mind - electronic storage of patient data.
But, the fact is, your EMR is open in every appointment. You use it constantly. So, why not find a software integration that does more with that patient data than just storing it - analyzing the numbers, making calculations, and even automating recommended treatment pathways?
Auxita is a powerful tool that does exactly that. It pulls patient data directly from your EMR - organizing it, automating routine calculations like the Framingham, and recommending clinical pathways based on the latest Canadian medical guidelines (guidelines can also be directly accessed through the platform). On top of that, Auxita uses patient data to recommend programs and clinical trials that can help patient care. The software is FREE (not just a free trial, but the current version will be forever free), secure, and compliant with Canadian health privacy standards. More information can be found here.
2. Accelerate note-taking with a dictation/voice-to-text software
Our medical advisor, Dr. Barry Dworkin, has written extensively about how voice recognition has revolutionized his clinic. It’s a great example of truly effective medical technology in action - voice recognition software is easy to set up, often free to try, and versatile enough to fit with the style of nearly any medical professional.
Here are a few voice recognition/medical dictation tools that are popular in Canada:
- PhraseExpander - helps physicians write more detailed notes in less time
- SmartType - leading transcription software that completes notes for medical professional
- Dragon Medical - a Canadian medical dictation company focused on saving time
3. Automate appointment reminders with your EMR
Gone are the days of manually dialling numbers and leaving messages; today, email and SMS messaging are the preferred method of contact for much of your patient list. That is pretty great news when you consider that email and text appointment reminders can be automated in almost every EMR.
Some EMRs, like Telus’ Practice Solutions, come with built-in capabilities for appointment reminders. Others, like Oscar EMR, have workarounds that you can explore. Appointment reminders can be a game-changer for productivity and patient flow, so it’s worth considering for your clinic.
4. Try out telemedicine with PHIPA & PIPEDA-compliant cloud software
Telemedicine is a hot (and sometimes controversial) topic in Canadian medical circles. Many people are curious to try it, but concerns about privacy, compliance, and cost can stand in the way.
Doxy.me may be one way to push past those typical challenges. The tool claims to be PHIPA and PIPEDA compliant and to offer most of its features at no cost to users. The cloud-based software has high ratings across many software ranking sites, making it worth a shot this Digital Health Week.
5. Help patients stay healthy with free mobile apps
Do you have diabetic patients who need to track their sugar intake, exercise, and glucose readings? Or, maybe someone with sleep quality issues? What about new mothers looking to track their baby’s development, smokers who want to quit, or individuals who need to track and remember medications?
You’d better believe there is an app to help people with ALL those needs (and much more!).
Mobile applications can make a huge difference in the ongoing care and preventative health of patients. There are apps for motivating healthier behaviour, learning new skills, and keeping track of important health indicators. Many of these apps have free versions, so it’s worth exploring a few in order to make recommendations to patients. They’ll thank you, and you’ll be making the most of technology in your practice.
6. Stay engaged with fellow professionals using online communities
Technology is a great way to connect with others, find support, and get recommendations. There are many online Facebook groups and forums that physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, and medical administrators can use to stay informed and engaged with their professional communities.
Ontario’s International Medical Doctors have a very active Facebook group. So do Primary Care Nurse Practitioners. The list goes on and on for almost every province and type of medical professional, and the content can be incredibly helpful. New opportunities, conferences, idea sharing, and so much more are shared on these pages - it’s worth joining for immediate connection to your professional community.
There are also online movements, events, and webinars that can keep you up-to-date on the latest in Canadian healthcare. Infoway’s ACCESS2022 is a fantastic example of this. They are offering several opportunities for medical professionals to connect for Digital Health Week, including a tweet chat with #HCLDR and webcasts of conference keynotes. Medical professionals can also sign up for their newsletter and social media for regular updates from the movement.
Exploring digital health innovations doesn’t have to be a headache
Digital health is important, but getting started with new tools can be a challenge. Setting up technology, training staff, and fitting software purchases into your practice’s budget isn’t always easy.
We get it. That’s why we picked only the tools and innovations that are a total no-brainer for Canadian clinics. Quick to set up, easy on your wallet, and laser-focused on saving your clinic time and effort.
Just think of how efficient your clinic could be if you combined a powerful free platform like Auxita with some of the other innovations in this list, like dictation software or telehealth? There is so much potential to make your workflow more efficient and convenient with new technology, and we hope you have a chance to explore those possibilities during Digital Health Week.