Investments in Foundational Electronic Health Record Systems are Paying Off: Part Two of Two

By Michael Green

As I mentioned in Part One of this blog post, Infoway recently released the results of a pan-Canadian study about the value of connected health information. Connected Health Information in Canada: A Benefits Evaluation Study, found that the growing use of connected health information — the information exchanged using interoperable electronic health records (iEHRs) and complementary solutions for sharing information between providers and organizations — is producing significant financial and time saving benefits for patients, providers, our health system and our economy.

The study estimated current annual benefits of:

  • $1 billion in health system value (i.e., money that can be reallocated for other health care priorities);
  • 18 million hours in time savings for patients (i.e., less time taken off work to go to appointments);
  • 5.9 million hours in time savings for providers (i.e., freeing them up to see more patients); and
  • $189 million in economic productivity gains (i.e., through time NOT lost from missing work).

The study also estimates that as solutions are enhanced with new features and functionalities, and as they are more fully adopted and integrated into point-of-care systems and clinical practices, connected health information could produce annual benefits of:

  • $3.9 billion in health system value;
  • 76 million hours in time savings for patients;
  • 15 million hours in time savings for providers; and
  • $732 million in economic productivity gains.

When Infoway and the provinces and territories began investing in core clinical systems of an EHR more than a decade ago, we always knew that the true value would be unlocked when these individual systems were connected and being used by vast numbers of providers.

That’s exactly what’s happening.

More than 300,000 health care providers are now accessing one or more systems (e.g., laboratory information systems, diagnostic imaging repositories) to retrieve patient information. In addition, 85 per cent of primary care physicians are now using electronic medical records (EMRs), enabling them to access various systems right from their desktops. Integration with other clinical systems such as hospital information systems and pharmacy management systems, has also had a significant impact.

As Canada continues to transition from creating the platform for digitizing and sharing patient information, to making the best use of connected health information, our health system will be more efficient, effective and sustainable, and patients will have a better experience and better outcomes.

I invite you to read Connected Health Information in Canada: A Pan-Canadian Study to learn more. You can also check out our infographic or watch our white board animation about the study results. You can find all of our pan-Canadian studies here.

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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.