Will technology help revive Canada’s health care?

Health care is an area where the Internet of Things (IoT) can provide innovative solutions for everlasting problems. I recently attended Technicity 2015 where the role of IoT was highlighted as solving old problems and transforming cities into smart ones. 

Deloitte published a report which discussed the Canadian health care challenges that are partially a result of applying old approaches in ever-changing new context. The report featured several possible disruptive approaches in technology such as rapid development in information technology. In particular, the report examined how workflow tools and big data analytics will be driving the change in the health care service model.

Similarly to Deloitte’s report, a study prepared by the Conference Board of Canada stated that Canada is lagging behind when it comes to using technology in the health care sector, with a common example being the use of slips of paper and fax machines.

The Canadian health care system is facing significant challenges that are continually evolving over time. The existing system struggles to meet the changing demands with issues such as an aging population, chronic diseases, high costs, workforce shortages, infrastructure limitations, patient locations, and disruptive technologies. These factors are expected to continue in the future as Canadians call for measures to shorten wait-times, improve patient management, protect privacy and modernize the delivery of health services.

The first step when deciding which approach to adopt is to acknowledge the potential of technology. Understanding the needs of stakeholders within the health care value chain is the foundation for facing the challenges in the system. With the wide spectrum of technologies currently available, a good understanding of the available technologies and where to implement them within the value chain will be a critical step.

It is true there are some concerns in implementing health care solutions based on technology. Implementing technology initiatives are likely to increase expenses, but it might be an opportunity to exert more efforts to contain expenditure by restructuring care delivery models and promoting more efficient use of resources. Also, as technology in health care continues to evolve, regulations concerning privacy and security must be established and adjusted to adapt to the new methods of administering care.

Careful investigation of what technology can offer deserves attention and the long-term benefits should outweigh these concerns. Investments in health information systems will increase productivity, improve medication compliance, cuts costs and create more effective patient care. The bottom line is that technology can provide solutions to major health care issues, and help increase process efficiency and reduce costs.

The health care system might need a comprehensive review for everything from diagnostics to delivery, which might involve investing in modern technologies, particularly mobile and wearable devices, big data analytics, and cloud. Also, a standardized approach will ensure that patient data is handled transparently across different platforms to guarantee efficiency and productivity across the service delivery chain.

Tamer Marzouk
Tamer Marzouk
A management consultant, with 18 years of experience in diverse capacities, Tamer Marzouk began his career as an IT professional. Marzouk is an author, speaker, and lecturer. Marzouk holds MBA and M.COMP degrees with research focused on change management and human behavior in ERP implementations.

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