Skip to main content
Home » Innovations » How Digital Front Doors Can Improve the Health Care System
Andrea Tait hs

Andrea Tait

Vice President of Client Value at Orion Health

Digital health technology leader, Orion Health, provides consumers with everything they need to manage their health and well-being, right at their fingertips.

One of the biggest challenges facing the Canadian health care system today is the consumer experience. Fragmented health systems with inefficient and complicated processes frustrate Canadians. Oftentimes, access to health information is incomplete and unreliable, with patients relying on their own research of test results or diagnoses. Coupled with the growing expectation from consumers to access health care in a way that suits them, the system is ripe for disruption by innovative technology.

Simplifying care and improving access

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for investment in technology to enable high-quality care. While many organizations have adopted patient portals and telehealth platforms to offer new ways for people to interact with their health systems, the technology is still generally siloed. Patients have to log into several websites to view health records or visit multiple platforms to book appointments.

“The right information is not easily and readily available to consumers in the current system,” says Andrea Tait, Vice President of Client Value at Orion Health, a global provider of health information technology. “It results in a reliance on services like emergency departments, putting pressure on already strained systems.”

Empowering consumers

Orion Health has been a leader in digital health technology for nearly 30 years and is focused exclusively on health information. Tait says that the COVID-19 pandemic has helped accelerate the transformation of the health care system to a more patient-centric approach that focuses on consumer engagement and empowerment.

“We’ve always believed that it’s critical to empower clinicians, bring information together, and support good clinical decision-making, but now it’s just as important — if not more — to start thinking about how we empower consumers to be part of their own care team,” she says.

Introducing the digital front door

A digital front door changes the way consumers interact with the health care system by bringing together various tools into a centralized, user-friendly hub. It provides consumers with everything they need to manage their health and well-being, right at their fingertips.

“If initiatives are implemented in silos, the end result is a fragmented consumer experience,” explains Tait. “A digital front door addresses this by providing a single hub through which all interactions can occur, such as an e-referral, symptom assessment, virtual care, and remote monitoring.”

Orion Health has a suite of technologies that are strategically implemented as part of its digital front door, depending on the needs of the user.

For example, implementing a virtual symptom checker and giving users access to trusted health information can help reduce unnecessary trips to the emergency department, therefore relieving the burden on regional or provincial resources. Users can simply identify and find appropriate services from the comfort of their homes.

For other organizations or governments, promoting well-being is the primary goal. The digital front door components would then include things like a wellness directory, access to support groups that empower self-care, and a symptom checker to help patients assess their condition virtually.

“By putting consumers at the centre of health care delivery and empowering them with equal access to the tools to navigate increasingly complex health systems, a digital front door promises to address the challenges facing today’s health care organizations,” says Tait.

Next article