Federal budget provides Infoway with $300 million
April 5, 2017
OTTAWA – The federal government’s Budget 2017 includes $300 million over five years for Canada Health Infoway. The money will help Infoway promote e-prescribing and virtual care initiatives, along with efforts to help patients access their own health records electronically, and better linking of electronic health record systems.
“We appreciate the government’s continued support and confidence in Infoway and the transformative power of digital health innovation,” said Michael Green (pictured), Infoway’s president and CEO. “This funding will enable us to continue our commitment to deliver better quality and access to care for all Canadians.”
The budget notes that e-prescribing, through Infoway, is an important part of the fight against opioid addictions and overdoses.
The budget states: “As an overall benefit to the healthcare system, drug information systems and e-prescribing can help reduce prescription errors and abuse, alert pharmacists to potentially harmful drug interactions and help patients take their medications as prescribed.
“With respect to the opioid crisis, moving from paper-based prescribing to e-prescribing can help reduce the abuse of controlled substances like prescription opioids. E-prescribing enables providers to make use of enhanced security features that technology affords. For example, prescribers can transmit prescriptions for a controlled substance to pharmacies securely without the risk of alteration, copying or diversion.
“As part of the Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis, announced on November 19, 2016, Canada Health Infoway committed to reduce the harm and costs of opioid-related fraud and misuse with the launch of PrescribeIT, Canada’s national e-prescribing service. PrescribeIT’s secure electronic transmission will ensure that prescriptions cannot be altered or forged and will provide value-added data to physician regulators, policy-makers and others.”
The budget also addressed health data gaps by supporting improved decision-making and strengthening the reporting on health system performance through an investment of $53 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, for the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).
As well, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement will receive an investment of $51 million over three years, starting in 2019-20, with $17 million per year ongoing, for continuing to accelerate innovations in all provinces and territories.
Budget 2017 proposes to invest $108 million over four years, starting in 2017-18, to renew and expand the Territorial Health Investment Fund. Of this amount, $25.6 million will be allocated to Yukon, $28.4 million to the Northwest Territories and $54 million to Nunavut. This funding will support territorial efforts to innovate and transform their healthcare systems and ensure northerners have access to the healthcare they need.