Technology improves preventative care through screenings

Hospital News

Chronic disease accounts for nearly 75% of all deaths in Canada each year. In addition, medical care costs for people with chronic diseases account for 42% of total direct medical care expenditures, not to mention the estimated $54.4 billion loss in productivity due to illness. Needless to say, chronic illness has major impacts on the Canadian healthcare system and the national economy.

The Canadian Family Physician Cancer and Chronic Disease Prevention Survey reported in 2012 that family physicians were selective in screening patients for selected cancer and chronic diseases during periodic health examinations (PHEs). The barriers to conducting clinical screenings cited by physicians include the lack of time as well as lack of motivation, absence of financial incentives, lack of value placed on the continuity of care, and contradictory recommendations issued by professional and scientific organizations and government health agencies. Even when clinical screenings are conducted through conventional practice, the methods for collecting the information is rarely consistent, and the quality of the information collected is not always accurate.

However, technology offers an opportunity to make clinical screenings a consistent part of patient registration. Patient self-service, delivered on tablets or onsite kiosks, is an effective tool for overcoming these challenges in emergency departments, clinics, and private practice settings. Allowing the patient to answer clinical screening questionnaires through an electronic device can improve the accuracy of the data, as well as patient satisfaction, cost savings, and outcomes.

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