Infoway Insights: An Innovative Way to Learn About Digital Health

By Bobby Gheorghiu and Bowen (Barry) Xu

Digital health, encompassing key areas such as virtual care, electronic prescribing, access to electronic health information and many others, is growing at an unprecedented rate. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this growth while changing the way digital health research is shared and utilized.

This research, and accompanying analysis, will have the greatest impact if we can make it broadly available in a dynamic and customizable way. That’s why Infoway developed the Infoway Insights website. It makes our digital health research accessible to health system stakeholders and enables them to tailor it to their specific needs.

Infoway has conducted annual surveys of Canadians for many years, to gauge awareness, attitudes, use and adoption of digital health. We also conduct targeted clinician surveys every two or three years in partnership with clinical associations. We have shared the results and analyses with our partners via PowerPoint slides, with customization such as translation and unique data cuts to address their needs. As their interest in and appetite for detailed and customized results has grown, we have looked for ways to accommodate them in an efficient manner.

The Insights website gives users the ability to:

  • View results from large national landscape surveys such as the Canadian Digital Health Survey (2018-2021) and the 2021 National Survey of Canadian Physicians, with updates and new surveys being added every few months;
  • Filter data by key demographic, geographic and health status variables such as age, gender, income level, province/territory, urban/rural, chronic condition and other available information;
  • View multi-year trends where available;
  • Download data tables for current and prior years (2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021) to enable researchers and policy makers to do their own analysis.

Since we launched the website last year, Infoway Insights has been accessed by 2,700 unique individuals across all provinces and territories in Canada and 800 individuals in 53 other countries. Within Canada, 92 per cent of the users are from Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.

Nicole Simms, Regional Director, Central Canada with CASCADES, says Insights has been invaluable:

“Canada Health Infoway’s Insights website has greatly furthered our understanding of the importance of environmentally sustainable health care to Canadians, and the role that virtual care in particular might play in improving sustainability. The accessible platform allows us to dig into the data to get a clear sense of how opinions on sustainable health care differ across demographics, helping us hone our approach to community engagement.”

We encourage our partners and all those interested in learning more about the digital health landscape in Canada to bookmark the Insights website to stay up to date with our latest research. And we look forward to hearing from you about your experience with the website. Does it meet your needs? Are there other lenses we could consider to customize the data visualizations?


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About the authors
Bobby Gheorghiu

Bobby Gheorghiu

Bobby Gheorghiu works with stakeholders in academia, private and public sectors to develop and monitor performance targets for initiatives such as PrescribeIT®, Canada’s national e-prescribing service, to ensure widespread adoption of technology and to demonstrate tangible benefits of investments in digital health. He holds an MHSc in Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation from the University of Toronto.

Bowen (Barry) Xu

Bowen (Barry) Xu

Bowen (Barry) Xu is a data science analyst at Canada Health Infoway. He is responsible for developing Infoway’s self-service analytics website and conducting advanced data analysis. Barry received his master’s degree at the University of Toronto in Engineering with an emphasis on data science and machine learning. His main focus is using artificial intelligence to provide advanced analytics and data-driven insights to make better business decisions.