Digital health students and professor at the digital health week workshop. Left to right: Fiona Tan, Amparo Loaiza, Susan McCaig, Noha Abdelrahman, and David Willamson. Photo credit: Farah Khan

Susan McCaig, a part-time digital health professor at Algonquin and a telemedicine nurse at The Royal, attaches her Bluetooth-enabled stethoscope to her computer so her patient’s heartbeat can be heard over on the cardiologist’s end.

Although the cardiologist may be in another province, they can still hear the heartbeats in order to assess the patient.

Although digital health week is coming to an end – running from Nov. 11-17 – Algonquin’s role remains and is becoming more important to serve the students.

Digitalization of healthcare has brought about huge changes to the way patients receive care and how providers give and assess. With digital health week across Canada coming to end, Algonquin too has been actively involved in digital health partnerships and learning such as with The Royal.

“You can see how this actually will help the health care system with wait lists and decrease in specialists, all those kind of things that we’re struggling with,” said McCaig.

The importance of digital health is recognized across the nation and Ontario is the leading province in virtual consults, with 900,000 consults done annually.

The “iron triangle” is a term used to describe three important issues in health care- costs, access and quality. Healthcare providers are constantly trying to reduce costs, increase access, and maintain quality for patients.

“Telemedicine at any kind of virtual care can hit all three of those,” said McCaig.

Algonquin’s digital health certificate program is a small but popular program, with majority of students being international. Over the last few years, the program has become attractive for international students for various reasons.

“In China, digital health is not so popular yet,” said Fiona Tan, A digital health student. “I used to be a doctor, and I think this could facilitate me to try to finish the first step examination for the doctors license.”

Tan got news that she can apply to be a teledoctor once she completes the first examination as an international doctor. The digital health certificate is helping her learn more about the Canadian healthcare system and make connections to be able to work here one day.

Technology is being used on a daily and it’s now gaining recognition in healthcare. Digital health has great implications on the healthcare system from less costs, less wait times, treating patients in remote locations, and making the system efficient for everybody.

Algonquin’s health promotion team often sets up booths on campus where students can learn more about digital health. Learn about Algonquin’s role and what you can do to be a part of it.