Progress in interoperability, but we can do better
April 19, 2023
TORONTO – Recent surveys conducted by Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) and the Commonwealth Fund show that health system interoperability, the ability for patient information to flow seamlessly through the system, is continuing to improve. Still, there are opportunities for further growth that will benefit Canadians, clinicians and Canada’s health system.
According to Infoway’s 2022 Canadian Digital Health Survey:
- 74 per cent of Canadians said communication among their care providers is always/usually good
- However, 24 per cent said their care providers did not have their health information/history prior to or during their visit
- 31 per cent said they experienced at least one gap in communication and coordination of their care in the past 12 months
- This is higher for those who have chronic conditions (38 per cent) or a large number of health system encounters (47 per cent).
“It’s very encouraging to learn that most Canadians are experiencing good communication among their care providers and good coordination of care,” said Michael Green (pictured), president and CEO, Infoway. “However, the information gaps are concerning because they can delay care, result in duplicate tests or adverse drug events or lead to hospital readmissions.”
According to the 2022 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians:
- 93 per cent of primary care physicians in Canada are now using electronic medical records (EMRs), on par with the international average
- That’s a significant increase from 37 per cent in 2009, when 77 per cent of international peers were using EMRs
- 76 per cent of primary care physicians in Canada now have electronic access to regional, provincial or territorial information systems where they can access patient information from outside their practice
- That’s an increase from 73 per cent in 2019
Since 2019, Canada has also made strong gains in primary care physicians’ ability to electronically exchange patient information outside their practice.
However, there is room to catch up to the international average in three critical areas of information exchange – patient clinical summaries, lab and diagnostic test results, and patients’ medication lists.
“Continued growth in these three areas is absolutely essential because good information flow and access helps patients better manage their health and improves clinicians’ ability to provide optimal care,” Green said. “That’s why Infoway is working with the jurisdictions and other health system stakeholders to improve health system interoperability.”
View the partial results related to EMRs and interoperability here.
About the Commonwealth Fund Survey
The 2022 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians in 10 countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States), was conducted by mail and web and included 1,459 Canadian respondents. The Commonwealth Fund provided core support for the survey, with co-funding and technical assistance from a number of organizations including the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the Commonwealth Fund’s Canadian partner in these international surveys. CIHI will make the full survey results available later this spring. Partial results related to virtual care are available now at cihi.ca.
About the Canadian Digital Health Survey
The 2022 Canadian Digital Health Survey was conducted online in November 2022 with 12,445 Canadians across all provinces and territories. Infoway conducts the annual Canadian Digital Health Survey to gain insights into Canadians’ attitudes and perceptions about digital health. It is the cornerstone of our research and analytics function, which also includes working with partners to gain insights into clinicians’ attitudes and perceptions about digital health, to quantify the value of digital health solutions, and to conduct landscape scans of emerging issues. Learn more about Infoway’s research.
About Canada Health Infoway
At Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) we believe a more connected and collaborative system is a healthier system, and we work with governments, healthcare organizations, clinicians and patients to make healthcare more digital. We’re working to ensure that everyone is able to access their personal health information, book appointments, get prescriptions, view lab test results and access other health services online. We’re working with our partners to transform the health system because we know that digital in health can be as transformative as digital has been in other aspects of our lives. We’re an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Visit us online at www.infoway-inforoute.ca.