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About the Project
    . Theme I
    . Theme II
    . Theme III
    . Cross-Themes

About the Research Team



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Why is this research important?
ACTION for Health research aims to fill gaps about existing knowledge of Canada's health info-structure. Currently, health technology in Canada is reviewed in terms of its clinical and cost-effectiveness. ACTION for Health goes beyond the limits of such traditional assessment by considering the social, ethical and legal aspects of introducing new technologies into the health sector.

Our research is concerned with the social implications of information technology and its introduction into the health system. This innovative approach enhances health technology assessments, leading to improved policies and practices.

What is ACTION for Health? [top]

The Context - Information technology (IT) has an expanding role in Canada's health sector. IT initiatives absorb millions of dollars every year in health care spending. Their increasing importance can be seen in everything from the prevalence of health promotion websites to the expansion of patient tracking databases and the implementation of automatic drug dispensing units.

The Questions - ACTION for Health examines what these changes mean for health practitioners, health care recipients and other stakeholders. Research is conducted in settings that range from libraries to hospitals, and rural communities to urban centres.

Research questions examine how health information technology is:

  • Designed
  • Implemented
  • Used
  • Regulated

The Values - According to the National Forum on Health, Canadians have high expectations of their health care system. They believe it should reflect values such as equity, compassion and respect for others, as well as individual and collective responsibility. They also expect the health care system to be both accountable and efficient. ACTION for Health explores whether Canada's current use of health information technologies are meeting these expectations.

How is the research organized? [top]
The research is divided into three inter-related themes:

  • The role of information technology in the public consumption of health information (Theme l).
  • The effects and challenges of increasing computerization in health sector work environments (Theme ll).
  • The legal and ethical issues associated with information technology in the health sector
    (Theme lll).

How will the findings be used? [top]
ACTION for Health researchers work closely with decision-makers, health practitioners, community groups and other stakeholders to bridge the gap between academic findings and real-world issues.

Results will be used to:

  • Create practical tools and recommendations for healthcare providers and the public
  • Improve the design of policies and systems in Canada's health sector
  • Help governments avoid unnecessary costs in the implementation of IT in the health sector
  • Support Canada's vision of the New Economy in the area of health information
  • Inform diverse audiences of our findings through a range of publication outlets, conferences,
    media pieces and policy briefs

Project Proposal [top]

Project Overview Poster [top]
This poster provides a visual overview of the ACTION for Health project. It was presented at The Knowledge Project, an ideas expo sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada on Feburary 17, 2005.


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