Yesterday afternoon, during the ITANS CEO Boot Camp in Halifax, we were treated to an excellent overview of e-Health in Canada. Dr. Mamoru Watanabe, of the University of Calgary, gave a quick survey of e-Health innovations from the clinical perspective. Currently, the federal government is funding initiatives to improve the IT infrastructure of the health care system. However, many primary care phyicians lack the resources and/or the know-how to take advantage of new IT systems.
Dr. Watanabe spoke of some marvels being developed in the health sector, such as inter-networked operating suites in Alberta, voice activated tools for surgery, robotics and – haptics [Defn: Of or relating to the sense of touch; tactile.]. For instance, haptics in surgical tools give specific tactile responses when cutting through different kinds of tissues, even at a distance. Thus, a surgeon can "feel" a procedure that is being done remotely.
Of more interest to those in IT is the new field of bibliomics, which is the linking of biological data with medical data. This field is driving innovation in customized medicine, where one size no longer fits all. The overall theme from Dr. Watanabe, and the panelists who followed him, is that there are many IT-related opportunities in the Canadian health care sector, including e-learning.