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Monday, June 27, 2011

Panel Session on Personal Health Promotion

Marie Root, Executive Director of Operations, HealthLinkBC
John F. Martin, Director of IT & Telecom, HealthLinkBC
Steve Sagodi, Mustimuhw Solution Architect, Cowichan Tribes
Kevin Craft, International Business Dev Mgr, Health Solutions, Microsoft
Bruce Forde, President & CEO, Cambian Business Services Ltd.


Personal health promotion is about dealing with enormous increase in healthcare expenditures, leveraging public support for citizen engagement, and identifying patterns of health and illness and the associated factors at the population level.

Citizens wish to take charge of their own health, and care providers wish to embrace evidence based medicine for identifying risk factors for disease.

So Marie came up to explain how HealthLinkBC works, and how it has been growing since it's launch in 2008. Services are 24x7 health advice and information via telephone. is the web portal for self service health care inquiries. Dialing 811 in BC gets you directly to the HealthLinkBC line. An RN is available 24x7, pharmacist is available 5pm to 9 am, and dietitians are available during business hours.

Much of the IT work is outsourced to private IT service vendors.
A unified communications platform is being initiated this fall, on top of the existing substantial VOIP platform in place today.

The existing WebServices platform is outdated, but the move to more collaborative and information rich (Web 2.0) platform is the direction moving forward. Data is collected from all the HAs with the goal to become a central knowledge base for clinicians around the province.

The strategies are:
Standardization of telephony, software, hardware, and data models.
Single enterprise call rrecording system
Virtualization of systems using vmWare
Intelligent call treatment and management
Currency and redundancy, BCP and high availability
Best practices such as ITIL

The success story for the infrastructure underpinning the service is around the H1N1 pandemic situation, and how well the systems and services provided results to a very emotional demand for service to the people of BC.

First Nations cEMR

Steve came up and spoke around Cowichan's cEMR called Mustimuhw.
Cowichan is a national leader in health care technology and EMR. This system has been adopted by 56 other first nations. It was noted in a Video that members have equal rights and responsibilities in EHealth initiatives. I'm not clear on what that exactly means when the rubber hits the road, but I think the idea is based around easy availability to the health information for the members, and collaborative health goal setting and monitoring.

The system discussed is used for the nation members across all health disciplines, and the system is designed to be culturally sensitive to First Nations. Terms and pictures that resonate with First Nations members are used throughout the system. goal setting and success monitoring tools are available as are delivery of notes to the Members to ensure they feel included the management of their own health care.

The systems architecture is based on the concept of disconnected use due to the travel requirements to areas with little or no network connectivity by the clinicians.

The personal health promotion aspects discussed earlier as the equal rights and responsibilities layers up to community health care management and reporting, providing better insight into the overall status of health in First Nations.

The Power of Consumer Health, Microsoft

Kevin stated that people have difficulty understanding and acting on health information & 80% of Internet users seek health related information online.

the platform advertised is a cloud based health repository called Microsoft Health Vault. It is live in the US, UK, Germany, and a fees other countries. Not Canada. My personal health information in the cloud. Hmmm, not sounding good to me yet.

It is Canada FOI approved, and used in hospitals in the US such as NYP ( In Canada, Telus is involved as the exclusive partner, the platform is called The concept is that EMRs connect to provide connectivity to the health consumer, particular vendors of equipment such as LifeScan interconnect as well for real time data availability. Data is automatically uploaded to your account, and forwarded to your EMR, if it is interconnected. medPalz is a children's health social network that is also interconnected.

In summary of the Microsoft/Telus offering, it's certainly become more interesting, but I'm interested to see how this kind of solution will work alongside the HealthLinkBC solution. In fact, I'd be questioning a bit of the commercialization aspects because it seems that to be really effective in improving the quality of healthcare, and not just lining Telus' pockets, there needs to be a more open solution that allows any EMR and hardware vendor to interact. I'll be curious to know what this service costs an individual as well.

A question was asked of the HealthLink people as to whether they have any measurement on how much HealthLink may have reduced the demand on clinical services in BC. Marie stated that they don't really know where the patient ends up, and if they came there directed by HealthLink. They keep statistics on how patients are advised, and hope that the advice is followed. John added that a certain percentage of the callers regarding the H1N1 situation noted a satisfaction with the information given, and that they would not be going to the hospitals or clinics. This is not backed by any numbers other than "substantial" but seems to be a good start. I think the message is clear to HealthLinkBC that the people attending this conference and providing health care services to BC would like to understand the value.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Kelowna, BC

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