Every day, more of Canada’s health care system goes digital. It’s a private, secure, effective way to make health care better, for all of us.
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How Technology is


Transforming Health Care

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Technology plays an important role in many aspects of our lives. Similar to the way technology has improved banking or the way we connect with family and friends, digital health is changing the delivery of care.

Digital health represents the many different ways that technology is facilitating a more connected health care team – a team that includes you. As part of a pan-Canadian initiative, a network of systems is being created to securely connect and share health information with authorized care providers. And increasingly, it can provide the tools and information to empower you to better understand and manage your health.

So, whether you’re in…

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or St. John's... city4Animation-a city4Animation-b

These systems will provide secure and timely access to vital health information, making it easier to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Is Digital Health Already Working for You?

Take Our Quiz

Is Digital Health Already
Working for You?

You may not realize it, but digital health could already be supporting your care and that of your loved ones. Take our quiz to find out more.

Have you recently had a prescription, laboratory or imaging test, immunization, hospital stay, or emergency visit?
Have you recently had a prescription, laboratory or imaging test, immunization, hospital stay, or emergency visit?

Increasingly, digital tools are giving faster, more convenient access to information to authorized members of your health care team. Almost all X-ray, MRI, CT, and similar scans done in Canada’s hospitals are now digital, and secure access to medication profiles and lab test results is growing across the country.
Have you ever received a printed version of a prescription, instead of a handwritten version?
Have you ever received a printed version of a prescription, instead of a handwritten version?

Printed prescriptions tend to be easier to read and more complete than those written by hand. Digital tools can also check your current medications or allergies to make sure that a new drug is safe for you. More than 40 per cent of Canadian family doctors routinely prescribe medications electronically.
Have you ever booked an appointment with your physician online?
Have you ever booked an appointment with your physician online?

Booking appointments online is an example of a simple digital health innovation that has significant benefits for patients – both saving time and helping to take advantage of cancelled appointments to shorten wait times. Seven per cent of Canadian family doctors say that their patients can request appointments or referrals online. You may also be able to book other health services, such as lab tests or physiotherapy visits, online.
Have you ever consulted with any of your health care providers online without having to phone or visit their office?
Have you ever consulted with any of your health care providers online without having to phone or visit their office?

Secure email and videoconferencing are just two examples of how technology is helping to connect patients and their care team. In 2010, telehealth saved Canadians 47 million kilometres in travel.
Have you ever accessed or viewed your health information electronically?
Have you ever accessed or viewed your health information electronically?

Secure patient portals provide you with access to your own health information, such as lab results. As an area starting to grow in use, it can be an important tool to help you manage your care, and ultimately make you a more connected part of your health care team. Approximately 4 per cent of Canadians say that they have access to their own health information online.
Do you use a technology tool – for example, a smartphone app – to track health information?
Do you use a technology tool – for example, a smartphone app – to track health information?

Smartphone apps are readily accessible digital health innovations that help Canadians track different measures of their health, including blood pressure, blood sugar levels or weight.
Studies show that effective, appropriate use of well-designed smartphone apps can improve health.
Have you used the Internet to find information about health or health care?
Have you used the Internet to find information about health or health care?

81 per cent of surveyed Canadians indicate that they have used the Internet to find health-related information. The percentage is even greater for those with chronic diseases and those who take care of loved ones.

These are just a few of the many examples of how technology may already be impacting your care. Do you have a story to share about your experience with digital health? We’d love to hear about it! Please share your story below!

Digital health is changing the delivery of care in Canada for the better

Digital Health and You

However simple or sophisticated, digital health tools are changing the ways in which you interact with your health care team, and improving the way you care for yourself and your loved ones.

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Confidence & collaboration

Online access to personal health information, such as lab results, current medications and other vital data, helps health professionals to provide safe and effective care and allows you to track your care, ease your anxiety and facilitate discussions and secure sharing with your family and health care providers.
Alexa
Alexa uses digital health to manage her health in partnership with her health care team. Find out more about her story.
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Treatment in emergency situations

Timely access to your health information by emergency department staff who aren’t familiar with your medical history ensures you and your loved ones receive appropriate and informed care in an emergency situation.
Dr. Kendall Ho
Hear Dr. Kendall Ho give an example of how secure, instant access to a patient's health information in an emergency, provides a comprehensive patient picture that helps health care providers deliver treatment.
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Management of chronic conditions

For those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, digital health can make day-to-day monitoring and tracking easier.
Karla
As a nurse working with chronic disease patients, Karla explains how electronic portals are enabling patients to be a more active part of their care team.
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Accuracy and convenience

Electronic prescriptions and requests for renewals can reduce handwriting errors, make it easier to check for allergies or drug interactions, and, in some cases, even reduce the need for in-person appointments. With ready access to test results – like blood work– duplication of testing can be reduced, saving you time and getting you treatment sooner.
Brian
See how Brian benefits from his health care team's use of electronic health records - making the process of getting his prescriptions filled more efficient and streamlined.
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Diagnosis and treatment

Electronic health records can help your health care provider make a timelier and better informed diagnosis by having easy access to a comprehensive picture of your health history.
Cheryl-Anne
Listen to Cheryl-Anne's story as she explains the benefits of digital health tools when managing her cancer journey.
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Access for rural and remote communities

Telehealth is connecting patients in remote and rural communities to care through videoconferencing and other technology, reducing the need to travel.
Heather
Watch how Heather and her son Nicky are connecting with specialized medical care hundreds of kilometres away through video conferencing.
Yes, we’ve come a long way together, but our journey is far from over.

Canada’s Digital Health Strategy

Infoway, a not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government, is working with each of the provinces and territories and health care providers to improve the health of Canadians and the health system through innovative use of technology.

Building a Foundation for Transformation

In consultation with our partners, Infoway established the foundational requirements for securely capturing, storing, sharing, accessing and managing health information.

And while every province and territory is at a different stage of development, they are all working on these foundational elements according to their local priorities and needs.

Canada’s digital health infrastructure has three fundamental components:

Point of care systems

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Compatible systems that your health care providers use to send, retrieve and manage critical health information within their individual practices or organizations. An example is an electronic medical record in your family doctor’s office.

Connection

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Over time, this is what will deliver the most value. It allows for the secure exchange of critical information between authorized health care providers at different locations who are all caring for you.

Storage

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Core databases being built by the provinces and territories to securely share very specific clinical information so that authorized health care providers can retrieve and contribute pertinent information when they are treating you. Components include:
  • Information that securely identifies your health record;
  • Information that securely identifies your authorized care provider(s);
  • Diagnostic images like X-rays, MRIs and CT scans;
  • Laboratory results;
  • Medications;
  • and other clinical tests and records such as hospital discharge summaries, allergy and/or immunization reports.
Establishing these foundational components supports digital health solutions that benefit you, such as patient access to personal information through secure online portals, prescriptions being sent electronically to your pharmacy or consulting with your health care provider through secure messaging.

We’ve come a long way together, and here’s how we will continue the journey.

Technology is rapidly improving health care every day in Canada, but there is still a lot of work to do. In 2012, Infoway consulted more than 500 Canadians, clinicians, governments, health care administrators, national associations, and vendors, to better understand their priorities for health and health care, and the supporting role that technology will play. The result: five Opportunities for Action that will build on the foundation that has been laid, and continue to drive the digital health agenda in years to come. These opportunities are:
icon - bring care closer to home Bring care closer to home
icon - Provide easier access Provide easier access
icon - Support new models of care Support new models of care
icon - Improve patient safety Improve patient safety
icon - Enable a high-performing health system Enable a high-performing health system
Digital health is transforming health care delivery in Canada by connecting Canadians.
 

fb-iconShare Your Story

Technology is helping to transform health care across the country today – and we’re sharing real stories from Canadians to help showcase what’s possible through digital health. Be sure to check out these stories here.

We also want to hear from you! Do you have your own digital health story to share, or simply want to show your support for digital health in Canada? Join us on Facebook and tell us about it.