Category Archives: Health information




The folks from my division, the Planning and Innovation Division, at the BC Ministry of Health launched the ThinkHealthBC website earlier this year.  The goal is to let British Columbians know what types of health care services are available to them and what kind of things the government is working on with its major care provision partners to improve the health care services in the province.  Here is the video that is worth watching:

The Information Diet

Lately, I’ve been researching on topics about linkages between information and calorie consumption, informatics and obesity, and psychological and social behaviours of overconsumption (of either information or fast food).  The book, Thinking in Circles About Obesity, has offered me a different way of thinking about our supersized population and how we got here.  Systems thinking is one of the systems theories I’ll be using in my thesis, and this book has been very timely to my research. 

An information and calorie consumption related article from LinkedIn Today caught my attention this morning.  I love reading weekly articles from LinkedIn Today.  They have topics from various sources on office strategies, managerial tactics, leadership discussions, etc.  The article, I’m Going on an Information Diet, written by Andrea Zellner, caught my attention immediately.  Below is an introductory video on the book, The Information Diet.  It looks like a worthwhile book to read.

Systems Thinkers vs. Reductionists

Science has been successfully dividing problems into smaller and smaller units, each self-contained and easier to study.  Hence, the goal of reductionists is to “divide and conquer”.

In contrast, systems thinkers concentrate on how the units fit together and interact as a whole (holism).  Systems thinking is a different view of the world and is interested in the properties and performance of the whole.

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking focuses on how the object being studied interacts with the other constituents of the system. Systems thinking is very effective in resolving complex problems involving multiple actors, actions and interactions. Systems thinking has its foundation in system dynamics, which was coined by Professor Jay Forrester in 1956. System dynamics is an approach to understanding the behaviour of complex systems over time. One of my summer courses is called System Thinking, Modelling and Simulation in Health Care. Summer school is near!

Health Care Transformation in Canada

I just watched a video from Dr. Jeff Turnbull, the President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) on the CMA website.  In this video, Dr. Turnbull explained that CMA is launching a web-driven national dialogue on transforming the country’s health care system.  Three questions were proposed to all Canadians:

1. The law underpinning our system – the Canada Health Act – dates back to the 1980s.  It covers only doctor and hospital care. Do you think it should be broadened to include things like pharmacare and long-term care?

2. It is important for citizens to feel they are receiving good value for their health care. What would you consider good value?

3. Patients and their families play an important part in their health care. What do you think Canadians’ responsibilities are, now and in the future, in regards to their health?

This is a great theoretical idea on taking the democratic and everybody’s-opinion-counts approach to resolving a multi-billion-dollar question.  Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) has announced earlier this year that health spending in Canada was expected to hit $192 billion in this country.  Although other facts have suggested that Canadian health expenditure in 2010 has been the lowest in 13 years, how much more money do we need to pump into our health care system to satisfy this country’s unique health care needs such as aging population, chronic disease management, remote health care delivery, to name a few?  Not that I’m suggesting our health care system is hopeless.  I’m just worrying how effective this national dialogue will be, what the data collected from the dialogue can contribute to health policy planning, and how many of us really care about our health care system being as efficient as it can be.  Spreading the word helps I guess, eh?

If you are interested in participating in the dialogue and helping to improve the Canadian health care system, instructions can be found on the CMA website.

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