Imagine having your child’s immunization record at the click of a mouse, as well as email alerts when they need a vaccination. Or using your cell phone to track the care that you need during pregnancy, your due date, and your ultrasounds. Or using an app to manage your diabetes, with helpful advice on how to improve your results. These are just a few of the winning ideas submitted to the ImagineNation Ideas Challenge, which asked Canadians how they would improve health and health care through innovation in information and communications technologies (ICT).
“Canadians are passionate about our health system, and we wanted their ideas on how digital solutions could strengthen health care,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway (Infoway). “The calibre of entries we received surpassed our high expectations and the range of ideas on leveraging ICT to improve access, safety, and efficiency of care is inspiring.”
When the Ideas Challenge was launched in March 2011, Canadians were asked to submit their ideas online. An independent panel of judges selected the top five bold and innovative ideas through two rounds of judging.
The first place submission and winner of a $10,000 award is a web-based system to record and schedule immunizations, based on the latest recommendations from the Canadian Immunization Guide. The idea comes from Dr. Christopher Clarke based on his experience as a family doctor in Puslinch, Ontario. “I imagined a website where each patient would open an account to contain their comprehensive immunization history. More important, the website would continuously update a personalized plan for each patient’s future immunizations, using the latest Canadian guidelines and including any new vaccines,” said Dr. Clarke. “Modern IT is ideal for communicating this sort of complex information to both patients and clinicians.”
The Canada’s Choice Award winner – determined through thousands of votes cast by Canadians – is “Mom2B”, a mobile telephone app for expectant mothers based on health guidance from Canadian experts. It would offer help at every stage, from fertility planning to tracking contractions. The “Mom2B” idea was submitted by Jeff Biletchi and colleagues at Niagara Region Public Health.
The following three submissions round out the top 5 winning ideas. Each entry has earned a $5,000 award:
- “Empower persons with diabetes interactively with enhanced reporting on iPads,” including tracking their health condition, viewing information from their health team and lab results, and receiving personalized advice to reduce the risk of complications (submitted by Jonathan Lapointe, Montreal)
- “Head Home, Speak Up: Empower patients and health care providers with an online voice at discharge” to improve the hand-off between hospital and home (submitted by Pamela Chan and Richard Norman, Toronto)
- “Connected health care…The whole life EHR” to track key health information for individuals with chronic conditions, such as vital signs or medications dispensed, and make it available to them and their health team (submitted by Donna Byrne and her team from Quebec)
“Innovation is a driving force behind what we do at Infoway – and is key to the future of health care,” added Dr. Jennifer Zelmer, Senior Vice-President of Clinical Adoption and Innovation, Infoway. “The ImagineNation Ideas Challenge identified some great ideas and helped to get Canadians thinking and talking about health care in the digital age.”