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Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Change of Perception Towards our Healthcare Journey:

 


 

The Change of Perception Towards our Healthcare Journey:

TakeCharge Campaign

27th August 2021.

Ngadiuba, Alina

Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education and Advocacy in partnership with Health Strategies Reform

 

MEDICAL ERROR IN THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM- “TAKE CHARGE CAMPAIGN”.

Communication between a healthcare physician and their respective patients plays a significant role in developing trust in a doctor-patient relationship. This is considered a leading factor in delivering proper healthcare services to patients. Communication involves the exchange of information and negotiation of mutual expectations between the doctor and the patient; a positive approach from a healthcare practitioner can increase the adherence of a patient. The outcome of a patient’s care is strongly associated with the communication during discussion or taking notes of medical history in consideration of a management plan. Furthermore, good communication behavior among doctors and their patients is related with the decrease in malpractice claims, and the patterns of communication between patient and physician has been associated with the satisfaction of medical visits. The explanations doctors provide to patients and the patient’s understanding to those explanations have shown to have an impact on the patient’s satisfaction and adherence to medical administrations (Zolaly, 2012).

Patient satisfaction has gained relevance in the healthcare system across the world. Studies have indicated that patient’s perception towards the healthcare system has been accepted as valid, significant, and standard indicators for improving the quality of healthcare services. Nonetheless, patients often fail to discuss their respective issues and anxieties with their healthcare practitioners when they are dissatisfied with the attitude of a doctor; hence, doctors lack awareness on the state of satisfaction of a patient with the healthcare consultation (Covinsky, Bates, Davis, & Delbanco, 1996).

Research studies have shown that lack of communication between doctors and their patients have are long existed problems in the medical subculture within the healthcare system (André Busato, Andreas Dönges, Sylvia Herren, Marcel Widmer, & Florica Marian, 2006). For instance, in the current healthcare practice environment, doctors are faced with several demands that are require time resources; increase in administrative requirements for the delivery of healthcare services such as service and authorizing requests and utilizing the process of reviews which affects the time allocated to patients. In 1995, the Commonwealth Fund Survey indicated that 41% of physicians reported a decline in the time spent with patients, while 43% stated that there is a decrease on the amount of time spent with their respective colleagues. Due to the changes in social and demographics of the healthcare workforce, most physicians have other responsibilities that reduce the time spent on patients. These factors have been considered as a crucial issue in establishing a firm doctor-patient relationship (Dugdale, Epstein, & Pantilat, 1999). 

In several scientific concepts, participation has different terms; In sociology, participation is defined as the means of sharing a beneficial mutual interest or participating in a group, while in political sciences, participation refers to: people facing the same problem with similar feelings, they careless about the problems and may consider their actions irrelevant, and/or due to lack of knowledge or awareness, people may consider their participation inadequate and may restrain from participating. Several studies illustrate that the “focus of interest has been on participation of patients in care and treatment decision making process, using such terminologies as involvement, collaboration and partnership of patients, clients, consumers and users”. There are different concepts on patient participation; one view considers the participation of  a patient in the decision making of treatment for their respect health issues, while other view indicates that patient participation means the “involvement of patient in disclosing relevant information, feelings and accepting the provided instructions of doctors and nurses”(Vahdat, Hamzehgardeshi, Hessam, & Hamzehgardeshi, 2014).

The participation of patients in the decision making of healthcare delivery and treatment is not a new area of focus; however, it has currently become a political necessity in different countries and healthcare management worldwide (Vahdat et al., 2014). It is known that the essential factor to improve the quality of healthcare services for patients around the world is to encourage patients to actively participate in their healthcare. According to the UK’s National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), patients can play a significant role in reducing the incident rate of unintended injuries within the healthcare system. For instance, patients can contribute to preventing medication error and monitoring any cases of adverse events within the healthcare system (Davis, Jacklin, Sevdalis, & Vincent, 2007).

Studies show that “the causes of diagnostic misadventures include problems that patients could potentially mitigate under some circumstances”.. In a retrospective study that involved patients who experienced diagnostics delay for colorectal cancer in America, an estimate of one-third had an average of 5.3 diagnostic process breakdown which includes lack of notifying the possibility of missing a diagnostic test appointment. From 587 patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer, about 44% of patients missed their appointments for diagnosis. While each patient is faced with their respective unique health challenge, patients are most likely to find barriers to participate in the journey of their diagnosis, especially when there is a feasible opportunity. Patients persistently find it challenging to communicate with their physicians; hence, creating an imbalance of power between the healthcare practitioner and patient (McDonald, Bryce, & Graber, 2013). Even though there has been an emphasis on the importance of patient’s involvement in their healthcare, evidence show that there are specific impediment that result to lack of effort to improve doctor-patient relationship. In a qualitative research study, a focus group of primary care patients indicated a hierarchical association with their respective doctors, defined by less than honest discussions and poor exchange of information. Furthermore, patients restrained from asking their physicians questions during their visits due to the fear of “second guessing” or the fear of being wrongly perceived by their physicians although they had an above average educational level and sought for external sources, either to clarify or make sense of their conversation with their doctors. In other cases, patients and their families are faced with several options without sufficient supervision from their doctor or coordination (Frosch, May, Rendle, Tietbohl, & Elwyn, 2012).

“The consumer model” and the “metaphor of the marketplace” are currently are applied in everyday life activities. They provide information on the different fields of the healthcare such as the opportunity to develop new and various relationship between the physician and the patient. Patients have technical competence expectations in their doctors, the availability, and the accessibility to healthcare (Lings et al., 2003).

Over the last decades, the occurrence of Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) has been acknowledged in the literature; it continues to increase in an alarming rate across the world. HAIs was originally referred to the infections that are related with the hospital admission in an acute-care unit (previously known as Nosocomial Infection), but recently, the term is applied to infections contracted during a continuous healthcare delivery (such as long-term care, home care and ambulatory care) among patients. These unforeseen infections can occur during the course of a patient’s healthcare treatment that results in to a significant increase in patient illness and deaths (morbidity and mortality rate); prolonged hospitalization; and increase of diagnostic procedures and therapeutic interventions, which incurs additional cost to patients with chronic diseases or upon the healthcare system. HAIs are considered preventable scenarios with undesirable impact on the healthcare deliver; quality of care indicator; an adverse event; and patient safety problems (Collins, 1991).

Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) is proven to be the most common cause of morbidity and mortality rate in the United States; they are considered the most frequent adverse events that occurs within the healthcare system. There is current emphasis on the HAIs as a patient safety hazard in the healthcare system and a public health issue that is in need for “Systematic HAI Surveillance”. Research studies have shown that in March 2006, 7 states in the United States have implemented an obligated reporting for HAIs in hospitals, while other states are in consideration of mandating similar legislative. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance (NNIS) system, a study conducted in 1970 involved 62 participating hospitals, which eventually extended to over 300 acute care hospitals in 42 states by 2000 (Klevens et al., 2007). A survey which was carried out in 183 US hospitals of 11,282 patients had reported that approximately 4% of patients had at least 1 HAI with the often occurrence of microorganism called Clostridium Difficile. Other related infections include Surgical Site Infection (SSI), Pneumonia, and Gastrointestinal Infections. Another study which was conducted 2 years earlier by the same group discovered that 6% (51) of patients had experienced HAI with the top 75.8% of obtaining SSIs, Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Pneumonia, and Blood Stream Infection (Haque, Sartelli, McKimm, & Bakar, 2018).

Medical error is defined as a preventable, yet an adverse effect of medical care provided to patients even though it may or may not be evident. Adverse drug events; improper transfusion; misdiagnosis; under/over treatment; surgical injuries; wrong site surgery; suicides; restraint-related injuries or death; falls; burns; pressure ulcers and mistaken patient identities are the most common medical error in the healthcare system. The increase of error rates that have adverse health outcomes normally occur in Intensive Care Units (ICU), Operating Rooms (OR), and Emergency Departments (ER). Medical errors can also be related to aging, new procedures, healthcare urgency and the severity of the medical condition. However, according to the 1999 IOM Report, most of the medical errors are results of faulty healthcare system; processes and conditions that could result to preventable mistakes, and not merely the carelessness of a person or the actions taken by a particular group (Niki Carver; Vikas Gupta; John E. Hipskind., 2020).

After the 2016 BMJ publication that “claims medical error should be considered the third leading cause of death in the USA”, there have been an increase of debate on the true incidence of death rate due to medical error. Studies indicate an annual estimate of 25, 0000 deaths due to medical error. An investigation carried out in the United Kingdom looked at 70 different studies which included 337,025 patients from general hospital, 47,148 of the patients suffered from injuries with 25,977 (55%) reported preventable injuries (SKEPTICAL SCALPEL, 2020). There has been a recent rise of medical errors in the USA; over 400,000 deaths have occurred within the last years which differs by states. The United States of America has the highest record of medical errors as compared to other developed countries. The most common medical error in USA is “surgical error”, which has been attributed as most preventable because surgical error is directly associated with patient safety(Canalichio, Berrondo, & Lendvay, 2020) . 

TAKE CHARGE CAMPAIGN:

The “Take Charge” Campaign aims at preparing people to become better prepared as patients by changing their perspection towards the involvement of their healthcare using 5 steps.

 

STEP 1: Understand & Complete Your Advance Directives 

OBJECTIVES
To create awareness among patients of the Advance Directive. 

STEP 2:Keep a Record of Your Medical History & Current Medications 

OBJECTIVES
To educate people on how to create and sustain their individual medical journal

STEP 3:
Prepare for Doctor Visits / Make A List of Questions

OBJECTIVES: 

To educate people on the importance of asking their healthcare practitioner relevant questions.


STEP 4:Prevent Infections / Ask Caregivers to Wash Their Hands 

OBJECTIVES: 
To educate people on the importance of asking a healthcare practitioner to wash their hands.


STEP 5:Use an Advocate / Be an Advocate for Others

OBJECTIVES: 
To provide guidelines on becoming an advocate. 

 

The TakeCharge campaign is a health campaign that focuses on helping patients and their families to understand their responsibilities in managing their healthcare as patients (if that should ever be the case). The campaign begun in the year of 2019, on the month of September. The campaign is non-funded campaign that involves 5 steps to “Safer Healthcare” to educate patients and their families to become active members of their healthcare team; to inform them on how to take charge of their healthcare decisions before the strike of any crisis.

The TakeCharge Campaign offers a different approach to reach the general public on the various ways of improving their healthcare before they become actual patients within the healthcare system. “This is not about HEALTH, but HEALTHCARE, the journey to better health”.

 

The 5 Steps to Safer Health Care! 

1.   Understand & Complete Your Advance Directives
 

Specifically, the healthcare proxy form or choosing a surrogate decision maker. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Advance directives guide choices for doctors and caregivers if you're terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia or near the end of life.” Even temporarily as we have seen in recent months that people with COVID on a ventilator can not speak for themselves.  Children leaving for college, at 18 years old may need a parent or other person.  By choosing early to have a surrogate decisions maker, and the conversation about their preferred care wishes, people who cannot speak for themselves can be assured the care they wish for will be carried out.

 

2.    Keep a Record of Your Medical History & Current Medications 

Just as a resumé helps an employer understand your suitability for a job, a personal medical history helps a clinician understand the whole picture of you as a patient. That is especially true when you are seeing a healthcare provider for the first time, or when you see multiple providers. Updated lists by the patient can help to ensure information is correct.


3.    Prepare for Doctor Visits / Make A List of Questions 

 Hospitals and other therapy centers can present a whole galaxy of unknown situations and unfamiliar demands. Make a list, ask family to add questions, and bring it with you to the hospital intake, along with pen and paper to note down the answers. Included should be any new symptoms, new medications and clinicians.  Being prepared can help ensure questions are answered and time is used appropriately.

Before your next medical appointment, prepare your questions


4.    Prevent Infections / Ask Caregivers to Wash Their Hands 

One of the most basic yet most effective ways to prevent infections is for everyone — doctors, therapists, nurses, friends, and family — to wash their hands before touching the patient. But medical staff are busy and under pressure: sometimes they forget.


5.    Use an Advocate / Be an Advocate for Others

Everyone getting medical treatment should have someone to support them, to help raise questions, take notes, enhance communication with medical staff and make sure they are receiving patient-centered care.

This person is called a “patient advocate”. Such an advocate can help organize support from others, help review treatment options, and generally support a patient’s needs throughout their care and treatment. And the sicker, less “on top of things” the patient is, the more that advocate is needed. The advocate can help focus on the 5 Steps for the patient.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

  1. André Busato, Andreas Dönges, Sylvia Herren, Marcel Widmer, & Florica Marian. (2006). Health status and health care utilisation of patients in complementary and conventional primary care in Switzerland—an observational study. Family Practice, 23(1), 116–124. https://doi.org/10.1093/FAMPRA
  2. Canalichio, K. L., Berrondo, C., & Lendvay, T. S. (2020). Simulation Training in Urology: State of the Art and Future Directions. https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S198941
  3. Collins, A. S. (1991). Chapter 41 . Preventing Health Care - Associated Infections Definitions of Health Care-Associated Infections. Preventing Health Care-Associated Infections, 1–29. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2683/
  4. Covinsky, K. E., Bates, C. K., Davis, R. B., & Delbanco, T. L. (1996). Physicians’ attitudes toward using patient reports to assess quality of care. Academic Medicine, 71(12), 1353–1356. https://doi.org/10.1097/00001888-199612000-00020
  5. Davis, R. E., Jacklin, R., Sevdalis, N., & Vincent, C. A. (2007, September 1). Patient involvement in patient safety: What factors influence patient participation and engagement? Health Expectations, Vol. 10, pp. 259–267. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1369-7625.2007.00450.x
  6. Dugdale, D. C., Epstein, R., & Pantilat, S. Z. (1999). Time and the patient-physician relationship. Journal of General Internal Medicine, Vol. 14, p. S34. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1525-1497.1999.00263.x
  7. Frosch, D. L., May, S. G., Rendle, K. A. S., Tietbohl, C., & Elwyn, G. (2012). Authoritarian physicians and patients’ fear of being labeled “difficult” among key obstacles to shared decision making. Health Affairs, 31(5), 1030–1038. https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0576
  8. Haque, M., Sartelli, M., McKimm, J., & Bakar, M. A. (2018). Health care-associated infections – An overview. Infection and Drug Resistance, Vol. 11, pp. 2321–2333. https://doi.org/10.2147/IDR.S177247
  9. Klevens, R. M., Edwards, J. R., Richards, C. L., Horan, T. C., Gaynes, R. P., Pollock, D. A., & Cardo, D. M. (2007). Estimating health care-associated infections and deaths in U.S. Hospitals, 2002. Public Health Reports, 122(2), 160–166. https://doi.org/10.1177/003335490712200205
  10. Lings, P., Evans, P., Seamark, D., Seamark, C., Sweeney, K., Dixon, M., & Pereira Gray, D. (2003). The doctor-patient relationship in US primary care. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 96(4), 180–184. https://doi.org/10.1258/jrsm.96.4.180
  11. McDonald, K. M., Bryce, C. L., & Graber, M. L. (2013, October 1). The patient is in: Patient involvement strategies for diagnostic error mitigation. BMJ Quality and Safety, Vol. 22, pp. ii33–ii39. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001623
  12. Niki Carver; Vikas Gupta; John E. Hipskind. (2020, July 10). Medical Error - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from Stat Pearls Publishing website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430763/
  13. SKEPTICAL SCALPEL, M. (2020). Medical error is not the third leading cause of death. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from KevinMD website: https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2020/02/medical-error-is-not-the-third-leading-cause-of-death.html
  14. Vahdat, S., Hamzehgardeshi, L., Hessam, S., & Hamzehgardeshi, Z. (2014). Patient involvement in health care decision making: A review. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 16(1), 12454. https://doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.12454
  15. Zolaly, M. A. (2012). Satisfaction of parents of paediatric patients with physicians’ communication skills in Almadinah Almunawwarah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences, 7(1), 29–34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtumed.2012.07.007

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

How Technology Can Improve Healthcare in Remote Areas in Canada

Six Healthcare Technologies Coming in the Next Five Years | Drug ...It has been proven to be problematic to have access to hospital and emergency services in a more distant location in Canada. Geographical distance can result to poor access to healthcare services and poor usage of emergency services in the rural areas. Meanwhile, there is an increased pressure to reduce the infrastructure of hospitals, rationalize specialized services to provide appropriate amount of procedures and quality of care within the rural and remote areas. Also, this solicits the movement of services from hospitals into the communities; however, from the perspective of capital expenditure and budget cost, it has become a problem to retain the financial support of small hospitals among rural populations. Attracting skilled healthcare professionals in the rural and remote areas acts as a challenge in the advancement of healthcare services among these communities (Rechel et al., 2016). 

The health communities in the rural and northern areas of Canada emulates the problems of the healthcare system today. The main issues of the healthcare system are the inadequate access to healthcare services between the indigenous and non-indigenous populations in Canada. However, for several years there has been an increase of physicians, nurses and access to healthcare services within the rural and remote communities; yet, it seems that having “more” healthcare practitioners is not enough. The rural health reform depends on the emphasis of developing a new set of relationship between the rural and urban centers; on the scale of providing other means of healthcare matches the current geographical problems, educational challenges and allocation of resources that will support the Improvement of healthcare capacity within the localities(Brown, 2018).  

While accessibility is one of the five pillars of the Canada Health Act, many Canadians still face major barriers to their access to health care (Friesen, 2019).Citizens living in rural areas in Canada have been met with obstacles for a long time to achieve equal access to health care. They make up 18% of the Canadians, yet only 8% of the Canadian physicians serve them. In order to improve access and equity of healthcare services, better recruitment and retention of professional family physicians is essential (The College of Family Physicians of Canada, 2017). Access to care that urban residents consider to be routine, such as services for mental health, counselling, caring for disabled children, speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupation and job therapy, support groups, etc. either is rarely found in rural areas or is improved by very short practitioners  (Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, 2010).

Studies in several countries have shown that suicide has increased significantly in rural communities in respect of urban populations. Although there is a growing suicide rate, rural communities do not seem to face a rising mental illness burden. However, most of the research suggests that mental illness in rural communities was comparable or reduced compared to urban centers. There has been a lower risk of depression in rural populations, for example in Canada, in Romans and colleagues. One reason for a higher suicide rate in rural communities without a proportionally higher mental illness rate is that limited access to mental health services leads to rising adverse outcomes of mental health, including suicide. In a recent study in Newfoundland, people who live in rural communities have been shown to be very difficult to access their community-based mental health services, and rural residents need to travel to large centers to receive treatment. The lack of psychiatrists working in rural areas can partially explain limited access to rural mental health services  (Friesen, 2019).

Studies on health disparities confirm that geography is a health determinant. Rural and rural people tend to have poorer health outcomes than Individuals residing in broader centers. life expectancy for people in predominantly rural areas is lower than the Canadian averages. It is more likely that Canadians in rural parts of the country have poorer economic conditions and less healthy behaviors, which results in higher Overall death rates. While low-level health areas tend to have small populations and cover large geographic areas, higher-level regions generally have large populations and smaller geographical regions (Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, 2010).

Health facilities are significantly less concentrated in remote and rural areas than in urban areas. Therefore, people usually travel far away to retrieve services which are unavailable locally. It is common to go travel kilometers to the nearest healthcare facility for people requiring specialized health services and diagnostic testing. In the northern regions, the issue is exacerbated by the difficult weather north which renders road or air travel risky or impractical. The financial burden of travel is not only stressful; families and communities should find ways to cope without members, parents, salaried workers or community leaders. Pregnant women in communities without a hospital must move to a regional center weeks before babies are delivered. This separation between their families and their homes takes a toll in relationships, problems with childcare and related stresses (Browne, n.d.).

In contrast, there is a high burden of travel costs in accessing the necessary treatment for patients in rural communities. It often requires days or weeks to provide families and social care with extra accommodation and food prices (Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, 2010).

Problems with healthcare access are caused by a serious shortage of healthcare providers even for the most basic healthcare services. Rural communities often have difficulty accessing primary and community hospitals and retaining access to healthcare facilities, providing access to clinical clinics, and more specialized therapies. This increase in the pressure on rural physicians, nurses and administrators contributes to the existing recruitment and retention problem. The burden of paying the high cost of travel to the health care required is also added for people in rural communities. Often means days or weeks away from family and social support and the additional cost of lodging and food (Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, 2010).

Professional isolation is very problematic for rural health care professionals who are often isolated from regional hospitals and medical specialists, particularly when medical emergencies arise Geographic distance often contributes to the cost of attending selected CPE activities and can increase the time to be away from family and work. Some rural health care professionals, many of whom are the sole providers of health care in their communities, simply cannot leave their communities to attend an educational session, regardless of how beneficial it might be for their patients and their practices (Curran, Fleet, & Kirby, 2006).

Not only are there few services available to people living in northern, agricultural and remote regions, but there are a limited number of professionals that provide care. Across rural communities, health care workers, including physicians, surgeons, dentists and others, usually face higher turnover (Browne, n.d.). Part of the difficulty of recruiting medical providers and maintaining them in northern and rural areas is attributed to demanding working conditions. Long working hours, a shortage of staff, the absence of additional training, difficulties in the regular continuing education, and a perceived failure to provide wife and childcare for these obstacles (Browne, n.d.).

Across the provinces of Canada, Health Canada; Northern First Nations; local physicians; and health authorities, have searched for various creative means of delivering healthcare services in the rural and northern areas. As a result of this effort, there has been an introduction of the use of different technologies such as digital and portable diagnostic devices to provide the necessary healthcare assistance to the rural and remote population (Khan, Ndubuka, Stewart, McKinney, & Mendez, 2017). World Health Organization defines telehealth care as the delivery of healthcare services for far distance purpose to improve the access to healthcare services for people who live in the rural and remote communities (Goodridge & Marciniuk, 2016).

The application of telehealth care has the means to address several problems of the present-day healthcare system by improving the quality, accessibility, efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of healthcare services as well as escalating the advantages of cost reduction. To example, a significant amount of research studies has indicated that telehealth could bring about a positive impact on the organizational, educational and professional aspects of recruiting and retaining healthcare providers among the rural and remote areas (Mbemba, Bagayoko, Gagnon, Hamelin-Brabant, & Simonyan, 2016b).

With the use of technology, the previously mentioned struggles of delivering healthcare to remote areas of Canada can be reduced. The main strategy to reducing limitations currently being used are Telehealth or other e-consultation services (Kue Young et al., 2016). These types of services can increase populations’ access to healthcare providers (Mbemba, Bagayoko, Gagnon, Hamelin-Brabant, & Simonyan, 2016a). By having the technology to support Telehealth it can connect specialist to those areas, such as psychiatric assessments. This is done by family physicians, or other primary care givers, being able to communicate with the specialist, with or without the patient, to discuss treatment options and care plans. This allows access to physicians in areas that are not typically accessible, while reducing travel time and costs (Kue Young et al., 2016).

Telehealth can also help in educating healthcare providers that are currently located in remote areas  (Young, 2013). Best practices are always changing and as healthcare providers continuous education is very important to providing quality care. Technology allows these providers to remotely access education seminars and classes, while allowing them to stay where they are, reducing travel time away from their practices/jobs. Technology allows for these professionals to be trained through virtue or augmented realities to improve the variety of care and treatments available to their patients (CADTH, 2018).

The availability of these services in remote areas of Canada can also help to recruit and retain healthcare providers as they, themselves, have the effective means to support their patients (Mbemba et al., 2016a). Another potential available support for remote healthcare providers is artificial intelligence-this technology can help in reading diagnostics or test results that could potentially be more accurate depending on the healthcare providers area of practice (CADTH, 2018). This could also help to evaluate, monitor, and treat chronic conditions in remote areas.

Having access to more healthcare professionals will also increase these areas in accessing timely care. Telehealth will help family physician diagnoses and treat conditions/illness with the guidance of specialists. As well as reduce the number of patients travelling long distances to receive care, which can increase the patient level of comfort (Khan, Ndubuka, Stewart, Mckinney, & Mendez, 2017).  and potentially improve their recovery time.

Technology can also improve access to care through robots or portable machines, such as scanners, or health monitors. TELUS Health has created peripheral devices that connect to a tablet and transmit data related to heart failure to a remote nurse for monitoring (Kue Young et al., 2016). This allows for the patient to have continuous care while still living in their desired location or home.  Khan et al. (2017) also discussed the use of portable liver scanner in remote regions to help in diagnostics (Khan, Ndubuka, Stewart, Mckinney, et al., 2017). An example is that of a pediatrician using remote diagnostics to detect infants with pneumonia in more remote regions so that they then were able to stay in a smaller hospital closer to home instead of being transported to a larger facility (CADTH, 2018). Also, there is the use of robots. The Canadian Medical Association (2018) discuss the use of remote presence robots to help in delivering care. These robots have been used to provide mental health services to youth in remote areas (CADTH, 2018) as well as perform surgeries. This allows the patient to have the right health care provider at the right time (Cazac & Radu, 2014) even when they are not physically in the same location. Some examples of these robots are “Rosie”, and “Doc-In-The-Box” (Khan, Ndubuka, Stewart, Mckinney, et al., 2017)

 

Conclusion:

To conclude, Canadian rural and remote areas are facing the challenge of inadequate healthcare services. A considerable number of studies have illustrated that geographical diverse populations have difficulty in receiving the necessary medical treatment due to far distance, and limited number of healthcare providers. Even though in the recent years there has been an increase of health care professionals in the rural and remote settlements of Canada, there are still healthcare disparities among these areas. For this reason, many of the physicians and other practitioners have introduced the idea of incorporating the use of technology in the healthcare system. This innovation will aid at delivering the best quality of healthcare services to the rural and remote population efficiently and effectively. Patients that reside in the remote areas will have the convenience of communicating with their healthcare provider from a distance.

 

REFERENCES:

Brown, A. D. (2018). The challenge of rural and northern health systems. Healthcare Papers, Vol. 17, pp. 3–4. https://doi.org/10.12927/hcpap.2018.25508

Browne, A. (n.d.). Issues Affecting Access to Health Services in Northern, Rural and Remote Regions of Canada.

CADTH. (2018). Characteristics of Remote and Isolated Health Care Facilities: An Environmental Scan ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN. Retrieved from https://www.cadth.ca/sites/default/files/pdf/es0318_remote_isolated_health_care_facilities.pdf

Cazac, C., & Radu, G. (2014). Telesurgery--an efficient interdisciplinary approach used to improve the health care system. Journal of Medicine and Life, 7 . 3(3), 137–141.

Curran, V. R., Fleet, L., & Kirby, F. (2006). Factors influencing rural health care professionals’ access to continuing professional education. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 14(2), 51–55. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1584.2006.00763.x

Friesen, E. (2019). The landscape of mental health services in rural Canada. University of Toronto Medical Journal, 96(2), 47–52.

Goodridge, D., & Marciniuk, D. (2016). Rural and remote care. Chronic Respiratory Disease, Vol. 13, pp. 192–203. https://doi.org/10.1177/1479972316633414

Khan, I., Ndubuka, N., Stewart, K., Mckinney, V., & Mendez, I. (2017). The use of technology to improve health care to Saskatchewan’s First Nations communities. 43(6). https://doi.org/10.14745/ccdr.v43i06a01

Khan, I., Ndubuka, N., Stewart, K., McKinney, V., & Mendez, I. (2017). The use of technology to improve health care to Saskatchewan’s First Nations communities. Canada Communicable Disease Report, 43(6), 120–124. https://doi.org/10.14745/ccdr.v43i06a01

Kue Young, T., Chatwood, S., Ford, J., Healey, G., Jong, M., Lavoie, J., & White, A. M. (2016). Transforming Health Care in Remote Communities: Report on an international conference. BMC Proceedings, 10. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12919-016-0006-0

Mbemba, G. I. C., Bagayoko, C. O., Gagnon, M.-P., Hamelin-Brabant, L., & Simonyan, D. A. (2016a). The influence of a telehealth project on healthcare professional recruitment and retention in remote areas in Mali: A longitudinal study. SAGE Open Medicine, 4, 205031211664804. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050312116648047

Mbemba, G. I. C., Bagayoko, C. O., Gagnon, M.-P., Hamelin-Brabant, L., & Simonyan, D. A. (2016b). The influence of a telehealth project on healthcare professional recruitment and retention in remote areas in Mali: A longitudinal study. SAGE Open Medicine, 4, 205031211664804. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050312116648047

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