Digital Health week showcases future of healthcare in Canada

Health care access for all

This week is International Digital Health week, an annual celebration and recognition of how digital health is transforming the delivery of care across Canada.

Loreen Wales, a dietitian with My Viva Inc., knows this is just the beginning.

"Digital health care plays a huge role in being able to support each Canadian individually 24/7. Healthcare professionals are never going to go anywhere... I do not ever foresee digital health technology replacing healthcare providers," says Wales.

However, 18.2 per cent of the population in British Columbia do not have a regular healthcare provider, and in many rural areas help is harder to access.

"Everybody deserves to have access to a tool to manage their health... When we look at Northern communities in wintertime, it makes it challenging to travel, but even in summer if you're having to drive 5-6 hours to go see a healthcare provider, then it to becomes prohibitive sometimes to get that access," says Wales.

Not all applications are built by healthcare professionals, or come from other countries, which can lead to issues.

"The challenge is that only one-in-four are developed by healthcare professionals, which is concerning but does open up the doors for us ... to get more engaged in using digital technology to help Canadians live healthier lives."

"You can't take for face value that the application is doing what you think it's doing. A lot of the free ones ... they're using your information. From a privacy perspective, you have to think where is your data being stored?"

But, Wales says that shouldn't deter people from digital health care, as it's the future of lowering costs and increasing accessibility.

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