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What I Do Matters: Connecting health with technology

29/01/2018 9:00:00 AM | 0 comments |
My six word story is “I am connecting health with technology.” 
 
During my time at Fraser Health I’ve seen technology grow closer and closer to providing information to allow real-time decision making. I started in 2006 deploying software on desktop computers, and now I’m with Mobile Health (mHealth) doing similar work on smartphones and tablets.
 
One of our major tools is a system that allows us to securely push information to corporate and personal mobile devices, including email, employee information and software that allows our doctors to see information on their patients wherever they are -- we’ve even heard of it being used from Africa. 
 
A few other systems on mHealth’s plate right now include secure messaging, wireless duress buttons to keep people safe, and many instances of moving systems onto mobile devices. 
 
Those of us who work in health care also see the system from the other side, and we often see how crucial it is to have fast and easy communication. Connecting health with technology is often hidden from patients and families, but I know it’s there. When my first child was born at Surrey Memorial Hospital, for example, I saw Vocera in use – that’s the “Star Trek communicator” that connects a care team quickly.
 
My most profound example happened when my wife was pregnant with our second child and we found out my mother-in-law had brain cancer. Her life expectancy was not easy to hear. Even knowing the side effect of me donating a kidney to her was that anti-rejection drugs are tied to a greater risk of cancer.
 
One appointment, her oncologist told us he needed to speak to a nephrologist and neurologist in order to make appropriate treatment decisions. A decision was made quickly and her care plan changed overnight. I will never know what impact this had, but I know Grandma left her last radiation treatment at Surrey Cancer Centre and met her second grandchild 10 minutes later at Surrey Memorial Hospital. She also got to attend his second birthday.
 
I wonder what it would have been like years ago, before technology allowed specialists information immediately. I’m a fairly positive person so I try to look at it from the point of view of what we gained, not what we lost. We gained more time with her.
 
Many of the unfortunate stories in health care can be traced to a lack of communication. The end goal of more mobile health options is to place the right information with the right people at the right place and right time. Anywhere, anytime, and on any device. I’m proud to be part of that for my own family and for other people’s families.
 

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