AHS using technology to expand access to health care information

By Scott Roblin
June 11, 2019 - 4:40pm

CALGARY, AB – Alberta Health Services is expanding its options for people trying to access health care information in the province and they’re using technology to do it.

AHS has announced two new projects that have been released to the public, including an online directory featuring continuing care facility information in Alberta.

According to AHS’ executive director of seniors health Max Jajszczok, the project brings together descriptions and photos of the province’s 347 publicly-funded facilities.

“We have 26,000 people within our continuing care facilities across the province,” said Jajszczok. “This is the first time that we’ve been able to provide all the information about their specific facilities, all in one easily accessible website. Not only is it providing information for people who are looking for facilities that meet their needs, but also provides all the information for people who are already residing in those facilities as well.”

Directory information will be updated every six months and includes price points and accommodation charges, along with general information about the long-term care homes.

Jajszczok said they want to streamline a process that for many families can be a challenging journey at the best of times.

“It can be a really difficult and challenging time for individuals if they’re in a hospital or they’re at home,” said Jajszczok. “And, they’ve been assessed and required the type of care that’s provided within a designated supportive living site or long-term care site.

“Often people want to be able to have as much information as possible to be able to help with their decision making on where they would like to be able to go and live.”

The online database also includes 12 facilities in Medicine Hat.

AHS is also expanding its reach into hands free home systems, making their wellness tips program available through Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home devices.

Users will be able to access these tips through voice command, a path that AHS executive director of online and creative services Kass Rafih said was an important evolution.

“We’re just trying to meet Albertans where they’re at,” said Rafih. “The information was available before on our website, it was available through our mobile app. We’re just looking for new, innovative ways to deliver information to Albertans so they have the info they need to care for themselves.”

According to AHS, they were the first public health organization in Canada to offer health care information through these voice-based devices.

Rafih said the daily wellness tips they provide aren’t just limited to one field or one section of the population.

“Today’s wellness tip was around tracking your medication,” he said. “Later in the summer in the midst of our heat it’ll be around staying cool and hydrated, when we get into the fall we’ll talk about the importance of immunizations.”

With Tuesday’s announcement, Jajszczok said they’re wanting to make the process simpler for those sorting through the health care system, adding technology plays a big role in that.

“This is really in response to what we're hearing from our clients, residents, and families,” said Jajszczok. “They are asking us to be able to develop and build these type of platforms. We're trying to meet them where they're at on their technology journey and be able to give them the information in a way that they want to be able to receive it.”

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