First Digital Health Week Launches in Canada

Working together to improve care for Canadians through Digital Health

(Toronto) – Leading Canadian healthcare organizations are pleased to announce the launch of the first-ever Digital Health Week in Canada, taking place from November 10 to 14, 2014.

This unique collaboration of 18 organizations recognizes how digital health is transforming care and inspires further progress in improving delivery of care across the country. Digital Health Week will be celebrated in a series of announcements, a TweetChat, a webinar and other activities. A calendar of activities may be found at

Key Facts about Digital Health in Canada:

  • Nine in 10 Canadians want to be able to e-book health care appointments. E-booking offers a range of benefits for both patients and clinicians including reduced no-show rates, increased productivity and enhanced patient and staff satisfaction.
  • Almost two-thirds of primary care physicians in Canada report using an electronic medical record offering better quality of care and health outcomes through preventive care and chronic disease management.
  • Ninety-nine per cent of x-ray, CT and similar scans in Canadian hospitals are now digital. Digital diagnostic imaging allows authorized health care providers to collect, store, manage and access images regardless of where they, or their patients, are located.
  • Laboratory test results for 81 per cent of Canadians are available in electronic form, for access by authorized clinicians. Electronic medical record-integrated settings were able to sort, archive and retrieve a single lab report 87 per cent faster than paper-based practices.
  • Telehealth videoconferencing is available in 98 per cent of hospitals making Canada a global leader in this area. Telehealth saved more than 47 million kilometres in travel and $70 million in personal travel costs for patients and their families in 2010 alone.

Supporting Partners of Digital Health Week:

Canada Health Infoway
Canadian College of Health Leaders
Canadian Home Care Association
Canadian Medical Association
Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Nurses Association
Canadian Patient Safety Institute
Canadian Pharmacists Association
COACH: Canada's Health Informatics Association
Health Care Social Media Canada (#hcsmca)
Heart and Stroke Foundation
ITAC Health
MedicAlert Foundation Canada
Ontario Lung Association
Ontario Telemedicine Network
Patients Canada
Patients for Patient Safety


"We are excited to highlight the great progress we've made in providing digital health solutions to Canadians. This profound transformation is now being recognized for the value it provides to patients, and Digital Health Week is a great way to celebrate that success."

Michael Green
President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway

"With the evolution of technology in healthcare, health leaders have the ability to collaborate and improve the health system, and greatly enhance the quality of patient care. The College looks forward to assisting health leaders in creating high impact results."

Ray J. Racette, MHA, CHE
President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian College of Health Leaders

"Mobile, user-friendly technology is fundamentally changing our approach to health and well-being; supporting a more efficient and person-centred approach regardless of the care setting. On behalf of home care stakeholders across Canada, we are pleased to support Digital Health Week and profile the innovations that are changing peoples' lives."

Nadine Henningsen
Executive Director, Canadian Home Care Association

"Digital health is an essential component of health care transformation. These technologies will play an increasingly important role in caring for Canada's aging population."

Dr. Chris Simpson
President, Canadian Medical Association

"The Canadian Nurses Association believes that digital health is a key enabler to improving the health and safety of Canadians, as well as their experiences and interactions with our healthcare system. Innovative use of technology has the power to bring healthcare into the hands of its users and to greatly improve communication and information-sharing between providers all along the continuum of care."

Karima Velji
President, Canadian Nurses Association

"In our strategic plan we say, "When Our Partners Succeed, We Succeed." Canada Health Infoway is an example of success. Together you push personal and organizational boundaries to generate change, and together you dare to transform healthcare system failures into learning opportunities. The solutions to our patient safety challenges exist within the healthcare system. They exist within healthcare providers and formal and informal leaders including patients, residents and clients. People like you who understand that preventing harm is worth the effort, while acknowledging that patient safety is a habit, rather than an act."

Hugh MacLeod
CEO, Canadian Patient Safety Institute

"Digital Health Week is a great way to showcase how solutions such as drug information systems and electronic access to lab results help pharmacists enhance medication safety and quality of care. Moving beyond hand-written and faxed prescriptions to electronic prescribing will provide further benefits."

Janet Cooper
Vice President, Professional and Membership Affairs, Canadian Pharmacists Association

"COACH is pleased to be a part of this first Digital Health Week and to collaborate and partner as health informatics (HI) professionals in helping achieve better information for better health for Canadians. Recognizing the work and participation of everyone – firstly patients, and clinicians, allied health workers, HI professionals, vendors, consultants, health agencies and government in bringing about the digital solutions that help improve care and save lives – is at the heart of digital health week. COACH is committed to our part in advancing the practice, safety, professionalism and use of digital health all across Canada, this week and always."

Don Newsham
CEO, COACH: Canada's Health Informatics Association

"The most exciting innovation of the digital health era is our ability to connect with one another. People, regardless of position, can connect within and outside of their peer group. The Health Care Social Media Canada (#hcsmca) community uses digital health to connect, understand and learn how to become agents of change."

Colleen Young
Founder, #hcsmca; Manager, Engagement & Social Innovation, ELLICSR,
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

"We are delighted to be part of Digital Health Week in Canada. Preventing disease is a key mission priority for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and one of the ways we can achieve results is through digital health tools like the Heart&Stroke Healthy Weight Action Plan and My Heart&Stroke Blood Pressure Action Plan. Digital health is key to engaging Canadians with their own health. It provides a great platform to raise awareness of lifestyle risk factors and conditions while enabling the delivery of personalized tools and resources to help boost one's motivation and confidence and in turn help individuals take charge of their own health."

Ahmad Zbib
Director of Digital Health and Innovation, Heart and Stroke Foundation

"Digital Health is revolutionizing healthcare the same way online banking and Interac changed how we manage our personal finances. Health information will be available anytime and anywhere it is needed, while ensuring that the privacy and security of the information is protected. ITAC and its member companies are committed to bringing world class digital health solutions to Canadians."

Brendan Seaton, CISSP, CIPP/C, CRISC
President, ITAC Health

"Digital health is a great benefit for families and individuals managing type 1 diabetes on a daily basis, as it allows for closer monitoring of the disease and streamlined communication with healthcare professionals."

Dave Prowten
President and CEO, JDRF Canada

"At MedicAlert, we place high value in innovation, technology, and collaboration that leads to providing the best possible outcome for Canadians in an emergency. Each day we see the life-saving impact that e-health records provide. We're proud to be a contributor to the progression of digital health in Canada, and Digital Health Week."

Robert Ridge
President & CEO, MedicAlert Foundation Canada

"The Ontario Lung Association is constantly finding new applications for digital health solutions in promoting better lung health throughout the province. Our important digital health initiatives include training healthcare providers through the Ontario Telemedicine Network, and improving asthma management with a new mobile app that will help patients track their symptoms, triggers and medication."

George Habib
President and CEO, Ontario Lung Association

"Without telemedicine, there is no possible way to ensure a sustainable healthcare system – one in which patients receive timely access to the most appropriate healthcare in the most appropriate place."

Dr. Ed Brown
CEO, Ontario Telemedicine Network

"More and easier patient access through information technology will improve and in some cases transform patients' and families' experiences with healthcare."

Sholom Glouberman
President, Patients Canada

"It is amazing what digital health can all do for us. It varies from different areas of Canada at this time, but it is very exciting to hear what it can do when used to its full potential. My digital health story is simple. Because I work out of town I like to phone the pharmacist early in the morning before they open. I enter my prescription number in their automated system and can request a prescription refill. When I get back into town which is just before they close I can stop to pick up the prescription. The last time I was at the pharmacist I mentioned that I really liked their service and asked what else they had for digital health services. He mentioned a free iPhone application where you can see all your prescriptions, how many refills you have left and request a prescription refill. I look forward to seeing what else digital health will be able to do for me."

Brian Penner
Altona, Manitoba, Patients for Patient Safety Canada

To learn how digital health is working for you, or for more information on Digital Health Week, please visit

For more information, please see the backgrounder.


For more information:

Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate/Internal Communications
Canada Health Infoway
Email Us

Erin Collett

Tel: (416) 849-8911
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