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On April 13, the Centre for Family Health Team (CFFM FHT) eHealth Centre of Excellence (eCE) was delighted to host Partnerships in eHealth: Enabling our Residents through Personal Health Records at the Hanlon Convention Centre in Guelph. Attendees included representatives from the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integrated Network (WWLHIN), eHealth Ontario, and connecting South West Ontario (cSWO) Program, as well as health service providers, clinicians, and patients. In his opening address, eCE Director Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia emphasized that 89% of patients surveyed in 2014 by Canada Health Infoway expressed a desire to access their health records.


“If we provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision, this will lead to more empowered patients.” — Dr. Alarakhia



Dr. Alarakhia discussed several local initiatives that use technology to connect patients with information, before introducing cancer survivor Dave deBronkart to the stage to deliver the first keynote speech. “e-Patient Dave,” as he is now known online, spoke to the room about his journey navigating the healthcare system.


He was surprised to discover that much of the information he needed could only be found through alternative channels, such as online message boards. He urged healthcare professionals to find new ways of sharing information with patients — and the next presenter, Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Robert Bell, talked about some eHealth 2.0 projects that intend to do just that. He also acknowledged that Waterloo Wellington is leading the way in Ontario for enabling technologies.



The symposium’s final speech came from Tracey Carr from McMaster University’s Department of Family Medicine, who shared some compelling projections (see stats below) that really speak to the importance of bringing patients into the circle of care. Attendees then divided into groups for the afternoon breakout sessions, giving them the chance to share ideas and insights on ehealth and patient engagement. Overall, it was a wonderful event and we thank all who participated. Hope to see you next year!


If Canadians (18-54) could access their personal health records:

– 47 million in-person visits to healthcare providers could be avoided
– 70 million hours in total would be saved
– 18.8 million fewer hours could be taken off work, which would add $400 million worth of activity to Canada’s economy

Statistics from Conference Board of Canada (2012)



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Hannele Kivinen
January 11, 2022
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