What We Heard: Understanding your digital health priorities

October 1, 2021

Doctors of BC has released its What We Heard Report outlining the results from our recent member engagement on digital health priorities, at both an organizational and provincial level. 

As part of our ongoing engagement work, this past summer Doctors of BC rolled out an online member survey on the future of digital health in BC to help inform our understanding of your perspective as well as our advocacy on your behalf. The past few years have demonstrated a clear need for a more nimble digital health environment in the province. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic saw major adoption of virtual care technology, and highlighted the ever-growing demand for streamlined, interoperable information-sharing options. Member input in this area is especially important, as digital health developments affect every doctor in BC.

Digital%20Health%20StrategyDoctors of BC sought member input on two key areas:

  • Optimizing use of electronic medical records (EMRs), electronic health records (EHRs), and other digital technologies.
  • Ministry of Health priorities related to effective use of digital technologies, including enhancing functionality and information-sharing.

Who took part?

Of 209 respondents,  60% were family physicians, 37% were specialists, and the remaining 3% identified as “other.” Almost half of respondents were community-based (44%), with 39% working in both the community and a facility, and 17% solely in a facility.

At a glance: What did we learn?

  • Overall, respondents noted that the administrative burdens associated with EMR management,  poor EMR and EHR functionality, and interoperability obstacles increase inefficiencies in their work. In turn, this decreases quality of care and access, and leads to greater levels of burnout among physicians.
  • Respondents expressed a desire to see more efficient and simplified systems in place that improve patient care and align with pre-existing clinical workflows.  71% of respondents indicated they were interested in a single, community-based EMR for BC, using a collaborative approach in its development.
  • Members are also keen to see greater EMR and EHR interoperability that promotes standardized, clinically relevant data, to reduce duplication while maintaining patient confidentiality.
  • Most participants (77%), are comfortable sharing information that supports patient care, interoperability, analytics, and quality improvement (QI), with a strong preference for sharing de-identified patient data to protect privacy.

Read the full What We Heard report for more details.

What’s next?

Doctors of BC presented this report to the Board of Director at the Board Planning Day on Sept 23rd, 2021 and will use these findings to inform the development of an organizational Digital Health Strategy. The strategy will guide advocacy and collaborative work in this area, both within the organization, and with provincial stakeholders. Member engagement will continue to be a major priority as this work continues.

Engaging with our members on a regular basis is an important part of Doctors of BC’s work, and your input influences how we advocate for the profession with government, health authorities, and other major healthcare players.