Take Charge of Your Physical and Mental Health Care in 2020 with Digital Solutions

Each new year, Canadians make the same old resolutions for improving health: get back to the gym, pack healthy lunches, or cut out alcohol. But there are other ways to take charge of your health in the new year that don’t require radical changes to your lifestyle.

Access 2020Photo: Unsplash

Currently, seven in 10 Canadians have the option to access some of their personal health information electronically — up from just two in 10 Canadians in 2015. What does electronic access to personal health information and digital health services mean for Canadians? Thirty-six per cent of Canadians with access said they avoided an in-person appointment as a result, and 67 per cent said they felt better able to manage their health.

This can make a world of difference when it comes to quality of life. From requesting appointments online to accessing test results online, electronic access to health information enables patients to better manage their physical and mental health and improve their health outcomes.

Canadians with mental health issues often struggle to navigate the health system and don’t know where to begin. As a result, some end up at hospital emergency departments. Others do nothing at all. The stigma associated with having a mental illness also makes it difficult for them to reach out for help. Innovative digital health solutions can offer hope by reducing the stigma and making it easier for people to get the support they need.

Aidan Scott struggled with mental health issues as a teenager and found support in online communities. The experience inspired him to launch Speakbox, a first-of-its-kind digital mental health service that combines online peer support, secure digital journaling and access to a library of evidence-based activities that help users manage their mental health with physician-approved tactics.

“On average, most of us spend about 15 minutes per visit with our doctors and, if we’re lucky, 50 minutes with a psychologist, which most Canadians can’t afford,” says Scott, an advocate for youth mental health and the founder of Speakbox. “There is a massive need for change within the mental health landscape and it goes beyond just being able to schedule an appointment with your clinician.”

Digital health solutions, like Speakbox, provide patients with access to knowledge and care that extends outside of their health care practitioners’ work hours. In short, electronic access to health information results in better use of resources and better care.

Access 2022 is a movement that Canada Health Infoway is leading to create a new day for health care in Canada, one where Canadians have access to their health information and digitally-enabled solutions to better manage their care. It promotes a future where all Canadians have electronic access to their health information and the availability of life-improving digital health tools and services.

This isn’t a distant dream. By working together, Canadians, health care practitioners and industry can transform health care, and the work is already underway. A new day in health care is coming.

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