Collaborating to Make Health Care More Digital

By Michael Green

2021-2022 was another challenging year for Canadians and our health system as we marked the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. Infoway and our partners and stakeholders helped our health system adapt to the constantly changing health care environment by making significant progress in digital health.

Collaborating to Make Health Care More Digital

Our 2021-2022 Annual Report provides details about this progress as well as Infoway’s achievements over the past year. Here are some of the highlights:

  • We continued to support all jurisdictions in advancing their digital health priorities through strategic investments that enabled them to accelerate the implementation of technologies such as virtual care and additional tools to support clinicians. More than five million Canadians and 100,000 providers used Infoway supported virtual care solutions, including more than seven million uses of sponsored virtual care solutions;

  • We supported the jurisdictions by streamlining procurement of digital health solutions through multi-jurisdictional pre-qualification processes for two services the jurisdictions identified as priorities—virtual visits and remote patient monitoring—and publishing a toolkit with curated requirements, including privacy and security requirements;

  • We continued to evolve our approach to interoperability and led work with jurisdictions to develop a set of pan-Canadian data and technical requirements that enable different platforms to exchange data starting with two key areas—patient summary exchange and secure messaging between providers. We delivered two implementable specifications and hosted a successful pan-Canadian Projectathon to test them;

  • We collaborated with Healthcare Excellence Canada on a Clinician Change Management program that resulted in development of a Clinician Change Virtual Care Toolkit to support care providers in their implementation and use of virtual care;

  • We launched a Digital Health Learning Program to provide resources for Canadians, with a focus on minority, vulnerable and senior population groups, with the goal of improving digital health literacy and health equity for all Canadians; and

  • We launched our PrescribeIT® e-prescribing service in Manitoba, our sixth jurisdiction; surpassed enrollment targets with 10,507 prescribers and 6,048 pharmacies enrolled, an increase of 68 per cent and 25 per cent respectively over the previous fiscal year; and continued to bring PrescribeIT® to pharmacies, with the deployment of OnPharm-United pharmacies and more than 850 Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw pharmacy locations in Ontario and New Brunswick.

In addition to these achievements, we estimate that since our inception in 2001, Infoway’s investments in digital health initiatives have resulted in $50 billion in benefits to Canadians and our health system. That includes $6.5 billion in 2021, and it represents an excellent return on investment for the $2.5 billion in cumulative funding that Infoway has received from Health Canada.

The past two years have highlighted our health system’s resiliency and dedication to providing safe, quality and accessible care for all Canadians. They have also highlighted opportunities for digital health to help address concerns about wait times, access, resource gaps and health equity. More than ever, we need to treat digital health as an essential part of our health system. Infoway is committed to advancing digital health by continuing to collaborate with Health Canada, the provinces and territories, and all other health system stakeholders, including clinicians and patients, to ensure that Canadians continue to reap the benefits of a health system that responds to their needs.

I invite you to read our 2021-2022 Annual Report, and let me know what you think about our progress.

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About the author
Michael Green

Michael Green

Michael Green is a strong leader and a creative, strategic thinker who has an international reputation and a proven track record of transforming health care through the use of digital health. He has leveraged international research and innovation to advance the digital health agenda, create jobs and stimulate economic growth in Canada. Michael has been President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway since August 2014.