Let me start by stating that predictions are not my thing. I did not accurately predict many Oscar winners this year and I usually finish close to the bottom in any office hockey/baseball pool in which I participate. I do feel confident, however, in predicting an exciting year for our health informatics community. Why, given my track record, am I feeling so bold? Consider the following:
We have a Federal Health Minister who ‘gets it’. Dr. Philpott, a physician who has been using an EMR for years, has been consistent in her message that digital health is transforming the health system and that there is tremendous potential to do more. She understands the power of technology and the challenges of implementing the changes that will enable more widespread use of it and she is encouraging us, as a community, to continue our efforts to accelerate the pace of change.
We have federal funding being allocated to healthcare. By the time you read this blog, Minister Morneau will have tabled Budget 2017 in the House of Commons. This year’s federal budget is expected to be good news for the health sector after what many would describe as lean years. In addition to dollars allocated to health in the budget, Ottawa and the provinces/territories (except Manitoba) have reached bilateral funding agreements that will result in billions of dollars being transferred from the federal coffers.
We have an increasing number of Canadians who are empowered to be more proactive members of their care teams. This is significant. According to Canada Health Infoway public opinion research, Canadians are increasingly aware of the benefits of digital health and want access to these services and solutions – and they are getting them. The availability of digital health services for Canadians, for example, has more than doubled between 2014 and 2016.
We have a health informatics community that is dedicated to transforming the health system. Canada’s health informatics community is thriving. There is a renewed energy and a feeling that we are at a tipping point, poised to transform the health system at an unprecedented pace. We understand the potential, we understand the challenges, and we are committed to working together as governments, industry, organizations, and patients, to make a difference.
So, my prediction: eHealth 2017 will be the best conference experience you will have this year. The enthusiasm, the progress, the discussion and celebration will leave you excited, energized and smarter! Looking forward to seeing you at #eHealth2017!