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Understanding the Patient Landscape 

For me, health care is personal. As a patient who lives in a small isolated rural community in the middle of the Prairie, I was instilled with the values of independence, resilience, to be a good neighbour and to be active in maintaining the health and well-being of my community through service to others. 

There is also an inherent sense of pride in being born and raised in the first regional health authority in Canada and the birthplace of universal health care in Canada. Over the past six decades, I have observed how our Canadian health system has evolved in the design, delivery, and evaluation of primary care. Increasingly patients, communities, health care providers, and health care systems have an increasing range of option for how health care is provided. Organizations like Canada Health Infoway, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and Digital Health Canada have had a significant impact on our health system transformation. 

For me and my family, the most significant change has been the added value of having access to virtual care and digital health. I supported two members of my family as they battled cancer and lost. When you live five hours from the cancer clinic, having your electronic health record, access to telephone and telehealth when you can be at home on the ranch rather than taking away valuable time and energy away from the battle, you can focus on what really matters…the comfort and support of your family. This sense of well-being could not have happened without the support of the multi-disciplinary health care team and access to digital health and virtual care. 

At the heart of what matters to patients and family is compassion and caring. Without trusting relationships with our health care providers, it is difficult and challenging to know how we can make the best-informed decisions about how to manage our health care. We cannot do this without the innovation and technology provided by our health system partners. Together, we bring voice and visibility to what matters most. 

By: Brenda Andreas, e-Health Patient Partner 

Brenda is a patient and a patient partner who lives in a rural community. She brings lived experience within the healthcare system and partners with many health partner organizations.

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