Caring for our Aging Population: Using CPOE and Telehomecare Systems as a Response to Health Policy Concerns

Caring for our Aging Population: Using CPOE and Telehomecare Systems as a Response to Health Policy Concerns

Sama Al-Khudairy
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4321-5.ch010
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An increasing senior population and national fiscal challenges affect the provision of healthcare in many ways. Keeping this in mind, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s recent release of the Ontario Action Plan for Health Care (2012) aims to manage scarce resources and healthcare dollars to improve the health of Ontarians while making care available to seniors closer to home. One highly viable approach to attaining such goals is through the adoption of various healthcare technologies. Computerized Physician Order Entry Systems and Telehomecare are two examples presented in this chapter that describes how health informatics can be used as a solution to policy concerns.
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In February of 2012, Ontario’s Health Minister Deb Matthews held a conference to discuss the recently release Ontario Action Plan for Health Care with three priorities in mind. That is, to keep Ontarians healthy, speed up their access to family health care and ensure the right care is delivered at the right time and in the right place (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2012). With that in mind, the plan sets out a number of goals to be accomplished in the years to come which bear in mind Canada’s aging population and fiscal changes. This document is highly influential as it reiterates the various problem areas to be tackled from the view of key health policy players. As such, it will be the main document used in this chapter to describe ways by which health informatics can relate and respond to health policy priorities and concerns.

Among the future goals listed within the action plan is to reduce the cost of healthcare, 25% of which are attributed to preventable illnesses (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2012). Furthermore, the issue of patient safety is also, indirectly, touched on through the realization that 140,000 accounts of hospital readmissions in 2009 were made within a month of initial discharge due to a lack of appropriate home care.

A vital indicator of patient safety may be incidents of adverse events. Plainly defined, adverse events are unintentional harm or complications resulting in disability at the time of discharge, death, or prolonged hospital stays, which are a result of health care management rather than the patient’s underlying illness (Baker et al., 2004). In particular, adverse drug events (ADEs), involving the unintended and harmful effects of medications on patients, account for a large percentage of adverse events in hospitals (Cadario, 2005; Casey, Moscovice & Davidson, 2006).

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