Bridging the gap between the High-Tech and the High-Touch Patient-Health Professional Relationship

Toronto (June 13, 2003) - An increasingly informed patient population is pushing for changes to the patient-health professional relationship. In the article, I'm a good patient whether you believe it or not, released today in the British Medical Journal, researchers at University Health Network discuss the ways the current health system needs to be reinvented to suit patient needs.

In the article, Dr. Alejandro Jadad, Director of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, and his co-authors outline five key areas in which patients, by virtue of their own empowerment, are directing change.

  • Patients want all their questions answered in terms that they can understand;
  • They want to determine how much they will participate in decisions about their health care;
  • They want to see and share their entire health record if they choose;
  • They want the right to a second opinion with no negative effects on their ongoing care; and;
  • They want to be able to communicate with their health care providers outside of office or hospital hours

In an effort to respond to these needs, the Centre has developed the Virtual Clinic, a series of online applications. The Virtual Clinic includes the Virtual Coach for Patients, the Internet Clinical Communication Centre (iC3), the Virtual Supportive Care Centre and the Global eHealth Innovation Collaboratory (GeIC).

"Research indicates that patients feel more satisfied and obtain better health outcomes when they are able to identify and discuss the issues that are of greatest importance to them, have information on available treatments, and ask pertinent questions from the health care professionals that are involved in their care," said Dr. Alex Jadad. "Through all of these initiatives at the Centre, we can provide patients with a health care system that is not only responsive to those needs but efficient as well."

The beginning phase of the Virtual Clinic has been made possible by gifts from The Richard Ivey Foundation and Richard W. Ivey. "I'm pleased to be a part of such an important initiative for the future of patient care," said Richard Ivey. "I believe that by supporting applications of new technology such as the ones housed in the Virtual Clinic, we can provide patients with a more effective, supportive health care system and thus, empower them to play an active role in their care."

Established with funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation in 2002, the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation works collectively with numerous health institutions, government, academic, private and community-based organizations around the world. The Centre is dedicated to ensuring that people, regardless of who or where they are, maintain the highest levels of health, while making efficient use of health resources.

About University Health Network

University Health Network draws on the combined expertise of our three leading hospitals to make success stories happen every day. Over 10,000 healthcare staff work at Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital. We attract some of the most brilliant professionals in the world. We invest more than $100 million annually in research. We train over 3,500 future healthcare professionals each year. Together, we make life better.

Media Contact

Phone: 416 340 4636
Email: UHN.News@uhn.ca

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