Connected Healthcare in Canada: Results after 20 years of investment

In Canada, Health Infoway* sees that connected healthcare information access solutions are evolving from their deployment phase to mainstream adoption. In early April 2018, the organisation released the results of an evaluation of healthcare IT systems which showed “one billion Canadian dollars of savings in the health network in 2017, the equivalent of 5.6 mil­lion […]

In Canada, Health Infoway* sees that connected healthcare information access solutions are evolving from their deployment phase to mainstream adoption. In early April 2018, the organisation released the results of an evaluation of healthcare IT systems which showed “one billion Canadian dollars of savings in the health network in 2017, the equivalent of 5.6 mil­lion emergency visits or 155,000 hospital stays.

The investments made by Infoway and its partners in electronic medical records (EMRs) and the fundamental clinical com­ponents of EHRs (electronic health records) have paved the way for information to be exchanged from one end of the health spec­trum to the other,” says Michael Green, Pre­sident of Canada Health Infoway. “Ten years ago, only one quarter of primary care physi­cians used EMRs; today, 85% of them do. The number of clinicians using iEHRs (interope­rable electronic health records) has also in­creased significantly.

In January 2017, the number of healthcare professionals who accessed at least one source of patient information through an iEHR (laboratory test results, diagnostic images, clinical reports, prescription information, etc.) was estimated to be over 300 000, or 60% of potential users.

With 20 years of investment in digitisation and healthcare information exchange, Canada ranks well in patient information storage and manage­ment, exchanging results, and telehealth work compared to other indus­trialised countries.

Nonetheless, it still thinks it has some headway to make, especially to integrate tools and data which are already accessible in current practices, all the while pro­viding professionals with new features and sources of data.

This is especially true in the province of Quebec where the challenge of linking to­gether every computer system set up over the years has yet to be overcome.