In order to maximize patient safety, positively impact patient outcomes, and effectively manage (both fiscally and organizationally) healthcare in Canada, knowledge users (e.g., policy‐makers, health systems managers, and HHR planners) must have a comprehensive understanding of the solutions available to alleviate the contemporary pressures faced by the healthcare system. Experienced in all jurisdictions across Canada, foundational pressures include a shortage of healthcare providers, escalating wait times, and rising costs. More recently, with continued growth in the aging population, healthcare professionals are increasingly being confronted with challenges related to managing patients with complex chronic diseases. If this trend continues unabated, the economic healthcare burden will be substantial, and potentially crippling.
Patients who live in remote, rural and small urban areas are especially vulnerable to the consequences of chronic diseases due to reduced access to healthcare. When compared to their urban counterparts, these patients face higher rates of hospitalization and mortality, creating additional complexities for the healthcare system. We must gain a profound understanding of available solutions for chronic disease management (CDM) in order to ensure that quality healthcare continues to be accessible for all Canadians.
Telehealth is increasingly being used in Canada to improve patient access to healthcare services across geographic, cultural and socio‐economic barriers. As the burden of chronic illness on the Canadian healthcare system grows, and the scarcity of health and human resources (HHR) in rural and remote regions intensifies home‐based telehealth services are progressively being recognized as an effective way to treat and rehabilitate patients with chronic diseases and facilitate management within the healthcare system. Examples of home‐based telehealth applications include: consultations between health professionals and patients; lifestyle management and behavioural change support; and patient vital signs monitoring., Care that can be accessed directly from the patient’s home has the potential to prevent hospitalization, reduce healthcare costs, support patient self‐management, and provide an alternative to hospital outpatient or health professional visits.,,
Given Canada’s widely dispersed population and the potential benefits of home‐based telehealth applications, achieving equitable, accessible and high quality home‐based healthcare has been identified as key priority. If home‐based telehealth is to be effectively implemented on a large scale, knowledge users must have access to succinct, usable syntheses of applicable research. To this end, the proposed knowledge synthesis will support knowledge users in understanding knowledge gaps, and assessing the priorities and viability of home based telehealth for chronic disease management and health human resource planning in Canada.
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