Longwoods Blog

e-Health 2018 – All about the patients



The 18th annual e-Health Conference and Tradeshow took place in Vancouver from May 27 to May 30 and one resounding message from the 4 days event is the importance of patient-centric approaches to digital health transformations and solutions in the country.

The opening session of the Sunday Symposium set the tone with the story of Greg Price, a young man from Alberta who lost his battle with cancer in 2012 after spending much of the previous year navigating a disconnected health care system. Throughout Greg’s journey, there were many gaps in the continuity of care, which led to delays in treatment, and may have contributed to his untimely passing.

There were a number of takeaways from this session and for a digital health audience, the message that this delivered to the audience was clear: the need to breakdown the current siloed approach to health care delivery is greater than ever and technology can help drive that change. After all, one of the antagonist in the story is the fax machine — a technology that is largely considered extinct. Everywhere except in health care. Innovation and better interoperability between EMR and EHR systems can reduce harm and save lives. Innovation needs to be driven by its power to save lives, and it needs to happen fast.

Since Greg’s passing, the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) launched an investigation into his story.  The result was a report that recommends 18 changes that can lead to better care delivery – including a province-wide personal patient portal and e-referral system. Greg’s story has catalyzed patients and citizens to become engaged in health care issues and use their voices to effect change.

More and more, patients are driving changes in the health care system. Patients have the first-hand experience of navigating our health care systems. As recipients of care, they also have invaluable input on what works well, and how to improve interactions in the health care systems.

Patient engagement at e-Health 2018


“Nothing about us without us” has become a popular turn of phrase used by human interest groups, including those representing patient groups. To that end, the e-Health organizers committed to incorporating the experience of patients as experts in living with their conditions.

In fact, e-Health 2018 received Patient Included Accreditation for meeting all five criteria identified by the Patient Included Charter.

As part of this commitment, e-Health 2018 Conference awarded two scholarships to patients and/or caregivers to attend the conference. Kerri McKay (Winnipeg, MB) and Francine Buchanan (Toronto, ON) were the recipients of the scholarships.

The inclusion of patient advisors and participants and the overarching #patientsincluded theme that ran throughout the conference is a step in the right direction.  The conference brings together some of the top minds in digital health, who like everyone else, can learn from the people that are passionate about sharing their stories to improve the health system.

But like most things, there is always room for improvement. Patient Scholarship winner, Kerri Mackay, who has represented the patient voice in a number of conferences across North America said “I think including patients via a scholarship program is just the beginning of good things to come for the e-Health conference. There were some sessions where the patient experience was highlighted well, but I do feel there were many missed opportunities for patient engagement that will be able to be grown into in the future, to become a more truly and effectively Patients Included conference. In the future, I’d love to see patients presenting on a greater majority of panels and sessions led by patients.”

On your mark, get set, HACK!


The “patients included” theme carried into this year’s hackathon, which set out to tackle the pressing health care issue of chronic disease management. According the Public Health Agency of Canada, chronic disease affects three out of five Canadians over 20 years of age.

The theme struck a chord with “hackers”, attracting 29 participants from as far as Newfoundland and Labrador. Over the course of the conference, participants from 5 teams worked hand-in-hand with patients and clinician experts, building innovative prototype solutions focused on prevention, home care, and community care.


Nancy Roper received a patient scholarship sponsored by Gevity and Tableau. As an IT professional and patient, Nancy was particularly driven to build a solution to help patients get to appointments. “I was really thrilled at the number of people who came up to me and said ‘I never thought about how hard it is for patients to get to their appointments – thank you for enlightening me about that challenge’ – so even if our application doesn’t come to market, I still think there was benefit,” she said.

From her idea, the Patient-appointment Drop-Off Assistant was born, which took away the Patient Choice Award.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142161021@N02/43301908412/in/album-72157692169553490/ CareCircles (now ShareMyCare) was a stand-out winner this year walking away with three of the six prizes (CIHI, Infoway, People’s Choice).  The team of 9 built a patient-centric platform that connects the circle of care (clinical) with the circle of support (family & friends) to enable the flow of information between the groups based on consent set by the patient.

Since e-Health, ShareMyCare continues to be in development. A research team has been established at Memorial University and the team anticipates being able to deploy the solution in Newfoundland & Labrador as a pilot project.

Other Hacking Health winners included:

  • SAM: The Smart Automated Medical Assistant (Digital Health Canada Winner)
  • Wikimeds (Orion Health Winner)
  • Patient-appointment Drop-Off Assistant (Patient Choice Award Winner)

Plenaries to talk about



The plenary sessions peppered throughout the conference offered a range of invigorating discussions on topics ranging from the future of Canadian digital health, the trials and tribulations in the health start-up industry and space medicine.

To close the conference, Nova Browning-Rutherford offered a powerful message, reminding us of the importance of wellness and self-care to prevent us from one day being on the other side of the hospital bed.

Towards the future – e-Health 2019




The vision for e-Health 2018 was to Celebrate, Grow & Inspire Bold Action in Canada’s Digital Health Community. Between the 250+ presentations, social events and award ceremonies, the event offered an abundance of opportunities to do all three.

There is no doubt that the patients-included movement is building steam across the sector and we can expect this will continue to shape the e-Health Conference and Tradeshow. Mark your calendars, e-Health 2019 will take place in Toronto at the Beanfield Centre from May 26 – 29.

Missed Out on e-Health 2018?

If you could not attend e-Health 2018, you do not have to miss out on all of the fun. The Virtual Library, available at http://library.e-healthconference.com/virtual-library offers access to recorded presentations (including all the plenary sessions), and all PDF/ Presentation slides that took place at the conference.

To take advantage of this service, purchase your access code on our website.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 16th, 2018 at 2:49 pm and is filed under Longwoods Online, Publisher's Page.