If I Was Boss of Our Healthcare System This Is How I'd Help Busy Moms

Why aren't doctors using the internet to make things easier for us

I'm a Doctor, And This Is Why I Want to Move Towards Digital Health Records | YMCTech | YummyMummyClub.ca

Working in a hospital and being a mom gives me a unique perspective on our healthcare system. Aside from my work-related responsibilities and my regular family errands like groceries and back to school shopping, I'm also inundated with these time consuming tasks to manage my family's health:

  • Call my family doctor to book my eldest son’s next follow-up appointment and review the latest report from his urologist.
  • Find my twins’ vaccination record cards with dates to transfer to the information to their school registration forms.
  • Gather my youngest son’s physical therapy receipts together to submit for reimbursement to our extended health plan.
  • Try to remember when I had my last pap smear and figure out when I need to book another as part of my next annual physical with my family doctor.

As a busy mom of 4, if I can’t easily do it on my phone, it often doesn’t happen. I know I’m not alone, am I right?

As a health professional, I have the insider medical scoop and see so much potential for using new types of digital tools for patient care. But sadly, I’m left wondering why none of it is actually making my medical to-do list any easier...so far. While my family has a fantastic family doctor and health care team, we’re not one of the lucky families who are able to book doctors’ appointments online yet. The possibilities are almost limitless when it comes to the value a new age of digital health can bring to parents and families.

With digital technology, I could book that appointment with my family doctor online (or better yet, access the urologists’ report myself). Imagine if my twins’ vaccination record was easily accessible online and could be magically downloaded to their school at my request? With digital health technology, I can submit health claims online. I could check online to see when my last pap smear was done and, better yet, receive an electronic message on my phone when it’s time for a follow-up. Instead of spending 10-minutes during my annual physical answering my doctor’s questions, information from my Fitbit or the other health apps could be fed into my doctor's system to get a fuller picture of my lifestyle and make better recommendations for my care.

Wouldn't it be amazing to book appointments and get health information about your kids by not having to wait or jump through hoops to get it? Getting information in a timely manner into the right hands is a challenge when not all members of the patient care team are on board using digital tools. If I were boss of the healthcare system, I would make it mandatory for patients, parents, and health care providers to be on the same page and use the same technology to communicate. Why is it that 91% of Canadians have used online banking in the last 12 months but only 40% have submitted health claims, and only 15% have renewed prescriptions or booked appointments using the internet? We clearly have a long way to go. But thanks to innovative companies like TELUS, we’re starting to get there.

Our country needs more companies like TELUS Health who are committed to improving the way we're using digital tools to improve our health. Their ongoing investment in innovative technologies is going to make my life as a parent, and my job as a health care provider simpler, more streamlined and ultimately more cost-effective. To date, more than 14,000 physicians are using TELUS' electronic medical records and over 2,800 pharmacies are using their pharmacy solutions. And this is just the start! Every time I visit my family doctor, I gently suggest that they look into getting their processes online.

On behalf of busy moms everywhere struggling with their to-do lists, thank you to TELUS, and all the healthcare providers around the country making our lives easier by giving us the tools to manage our families' health online. My final rule, if I were the boss (of the world), is for everything to be managed through our phones. How amazing would that be?

When not chasing after her four young kids, Dr. Christine Chambers is a child clinical psychologist and Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology & Neuroscience at Dalhousie University. Christine has been studying children’s pain for over 20-years and is based in the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research at the IWK Health Centre. Christine is tired of seeing so much great child health research just sitting on the shelf. She is determined to make sure this information gets into the hands of families who can use it!

Follow Christine on Twitter: @drcchambers
Visit her at: http://pediatric-pain.ca/faculty/christine-chambers