The Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians found there has been significant electronic medical record (EMR) adoption among Canadian primary care physicians over the past decade. Family doctors have also made inroads on access to electronic health record (EHR) data, that is, data in provincial or territorial information systems, such as hospitals. The Commonwealth Fund survey compares 11 developed countries.
The results show that where investments have been made, such as in EMRs, EHRs and telemedicine for remote communities, Canada has made progress. For example, 34 per cent of primary care physicians offer patients the ability to view test results, on par with international numbers (37%).
The survey results showed that digitally-enabled Canadian family doctors — those using multiple EMR functions and EHRs — are overall more satisfied than their non-digital peers with practising medicine (57% vs 39%). They are also more likely to provide care virtually, to exhibit leading practices in providing patient care, and to use digital tools to improve patient quality of care, such as reviewing data quarterly or annually on patients’ hospital admission/emergency department (ED) use.
While Canada has made significant inroads in areas where it has invested in digital health, such as EMRs for primary care physicians, Canada still lags international standards so there is a lot of work to be done.
For example, fewer Canadian physicians offer patient online services than their international peers.
Canada Health Infoway recognizes there is still much work to be done when it comes to access to digital health services for Canadians and their health care providers. ACCESS 2022 is a movement to create a new day for health care in Canada, one where Canadians have access to their health information and digitally-enabled solutions to better manage their care. We’re uniting industry, health care providers, provinces, territories and Canadians to transform care.