“People-centred e-health is my focus. I’ve been interacting with patients and family member over the Internet for more than twenty years.
“My transformation started soon after I began medical school in the early 1980s…there was this new drug on the streets and kids began asking me questions about it. I didn’t know the answers, so I started doing research. I was 17. By 19, when the very same drug became a major problem, I was advising the UN. Because of this I saw a big gap between what people needed and what they could get from the system. What people need is very different from what they get.
“When I had the experience with my father’s cancer (see Alex’s other story), that just reinforced everything, gave me great determination to keep making efforts to close such a gap. That’s what I’m still doing… while being a companion to people – to patients – through the journey of life, aided by mobile communication tools.
“I’m devoting a lot of effort to leveling the playing field for youth, seniors, and caregivers, particularly those who are recent immigrants. These groups – if properly engaged and inspired – could become very powerful agents of change.
“Family caregivers, for instance, are being negatively affected by the health system. One in four health caregivers in Canada are women who have other jobs, so they’re both workers and healthcare providers. They’re contributing about one-third of the entire healthcare investment in this country – unacknowledged. And fifty percent of those women are developing chronic conditions because of stress they suffer as care providers.
“I call these women the largest invisible and disadvantaged minority in Canada. And most of their suffering is unnecessary. We’ve created a new set of victims of the system.”
In his work heading up the Centre for eHealth Innovation, Alex is committed to finding solutions that address such disparities and inequities in our current health care system.