Significant gap still exists between Canadians’ desire and ability to access digital health services

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Canadians increasingly want access to digital health services, but there is a significant gap between this desire and their ability to access various services online.

Connecting Patients for Better Health 2018 draws on four public opinion surveys conducted for Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) between February 2014 and March 2018 and provides a picture of Canadians’ attitudes about and ability to access digital health services.

Currently, 22 per cent of Canadians have access to their health information online, while 73 per cent do not, and would like this access. The main digital services Canadians want are the ability to: renew prescriptions, view their health information, book appointments with their family doctor, and confirm specialist referrals and receive confirmations of specialist appointments, all online and preferably from the device of their choice.

Canadians who have access to digital health services say it is more convenient and improves their ability to manage their care. It also improves the timeliness of the care they receive, results in better communication with their health care provider, and makes them feel like partners with their care team.

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Virtual visits — the ability to talk with their health care providers by video — is another digital service that interests Canadians. Forty-one per cent say they would like to access this service, while only six per cent can do so currently.

“Canadians deserve to be able to access their health information and services in the same way they access their financial services — online, at their convenience, and with assurance that the highest standards of privacy and security are in place,” said Michael Green, President and CEO of Infoway.

“Infoway’s bold new ACCESS Health initiative will make it quicker and easier for Canadians to access digital health services,” he said. “Our goal is to provide all Canadians with access to a modern, 21st century health system that is sustainable, efficient, and, above all, improves their care experiences and health outcomes.”

Download: Connecting Patients for Better Health 2018 .