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Dr. Doug Kavanagh: Transforming Medical Information Sharing - Adopting Technology in the Waiting Room

This is the final story in a five-part series in which we introduce Canadian Medical Association members to the recipients of the first round of Joule™ Innovation grants. Please watch for additional stories in the series.


As patients, we have grown accustomed to updating our medical information on a clipboard handed to us in our doctor’s office. But thanks to CognisantMD’s “Ocean Tablet”, patients are now able to instantly update their electronic medical records and complete clinical questionnaires and consent forms on an easy-to-use digital interface, while they wait.

The Ocean Tablet is an impressive technology platform delivered by CognisantMD – a new organization dedicated to transforming the way our medical and health information is collected and shared. CognisantMD’s goal is to open the door to better patient charting and clinical decision support, more customized patient education, and improved patient care.

Dr. Doug Kavanagh 

Perhaps the most ground-breaking functionality of the Ocean Tablet is it enables patients to enter their information in their language of choice. The solution automatically translates medical history updates and concise clinical notes into English and enters them into the electronic medical record (EMR) system. This functionality helps to eliminate language barriers between physicians and patients and addresses an on-going challenge for many.

The Ocean Tablet is the brainchild of Dr. Doug Kavanagh, Medical Director and Co-founder of CognisantMD. Doug is a Toronto-based family physician specializing in electronic medical records development and knowledge translation. He is the author and former chief architect of TELUS PS Suite, Canada’s leading electronic medical records system.

This is not the first innovation Doug has spearheaded to help improve healthcare delivery. He has also created many clinical decision support systems deployed across the country, and led the architecture for Ontario’s first ePrescribing network for the Georgian Bay Family Health Team.

“With technology we can enable patients to securely share their health information for clinical use, administration and research, and capture that information directly in the EMR. We believe the Ocean Platform will change the way we share information and best practices in order to improve patient care,” says Dr. Kavanagh.

The results are impressive. Clinics that use the Ocean Tablet (over 1.5M patient updates so far) report that the time needed for a single appointment can be reduced by as much as 65%, while allowing more time spent face-to-face with patients. The digital data entry also allows for more structured patient records of higher quality, enabling easier data analysis and secured data-sharing for research purposes.

“Patient engagement on this level means greater efficiency for clinics, better time management for patients and improved information sharing for research purposes,” claims Dr. Kavanagh.

Dr. Kavanagh is an inspiration and perfect example of the innovative physicians that Joule™ supports and promotes. Dr. Kavanagh and Ocean will use the $50K Innovation Grant awarded by Joule to expand the Ocean library of translated forms and validated clinical screening tools, particularly in the areas of mental health and pain.

For more information, visit http://www.cognisantmd.com/

Forward any comments about this article to: cmanews@cma.ca.