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“Personalize my healthcare” with digital apps and e-Health!

For the past 15 years, I have been a volunteer advocate for healthcare, and in the last two years, I have been a patient advocate for the e-Health Conference.

Why would I do this, and is it beneficial to improving healthcare?


My mantra for years has been to “personalize my healthcare,” from birth to death, in a holistic way, with wellness and prevention when needed by the many experts in our system. What this means is that I have a health plan at my family level and am prepared for situations as they arise.

I make this statement because I have learned that I needed to improve my own health literacy, develop relationships with my service providers, and engage in shared decision making with my providers about my healthcare.

Two years ago, when I was asked to join e-Health as a patient advocate, I really didn’t know what I was getting into, but I knew that I could improve my own literacy within the digital context to continue my journey towards personalized healthcare. And wow, has this been a rewarding experience.

At first, I was so overwhelmed to be reviewing 300 abstracts of digital healthcare initiatives, ranging from research in biometrics to artificial intelligence, to internal efforts on electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMRs), to focus clinical records, and developing apps that send us to targeted populations with virtual healthcare and self-management.

My role was to work with pan-Canadian teams. I looked for the inclusion of patient voice through engagement, the articulation of value propositions to the patient, along with the technical and system experts on our team.

Some of the highlights are:

  • Hearing voices across Canada has been inspiring, helping me step out of my provincial bias and truly seeing the need for personalization at the family level
  • Seeing the incredible number of digital projects targeted at populations with specific value propositions has helped me understand how scope and scale can lead to improved health equity
  • Seeing the shear number of digital enablement projects with the inclusion of the patient’s voice has been a breakthrough, with many projects already at the co-design level with their families
  • Seeing the integration of the determinants of health — side by side the development of healthcare apps — as equally important in the development of digital capability for reach into communities
  • Seeing how digital apps can improve the health literacy of communities, enabling them to personalize their plans and develop trusted sources for healthcare information from our service providers to these families

Now, after two years on this team, I recognize the work that needs to be done. But, clearly digital enablement is a cornerstone of bringing healthcare into the family.

I hope I am invited for a third year so we can build on the number of patient advisors that can help move us quickly to the future.

As you leave the conference, make a commitment to develop your own personal healthcare plan for your family. Use the digital foundations to enable the plan, and improve your own health literacy.


Randy Filinski is a Pickering resident and healthcare advocate

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