EMR Use in Canada Continues to Grow

Room to Advance Patient Access

(Toronto) – Electronic medical record (EMR) adoption and use among primary care physicians in Canada is showing continued and strong growth, according to the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) Workforce Survey, released today. Survey results also reveal that citizen access to digital health services shows the greatest opportunity for growth.

EMR use among Canadian primary care physicians is now at 85 per cent. This number compares to a national average of 77 per cent in 2014, when the last survey of primary care physicians was completed through the National Physician Survey.

Most provinces saw growth in EMR adoption since 2014 with Quebec showing the highest increase in growth, with adoption rates currently at 78 per cent. Alberta continues to lead the country with a 91 per cent adoption rate.

“Canada Health Infoway is pleased to see this continued growth and commitment to advancing EMR adoption and use across Canada. Our investments in modernizing and transforming clinical practice are making an impact and improving the quality of care across Canada,” said Michael Green, President and CEO, Services at Canada Health Infoway. “We look forward to seeing continued value as clinicians expand their use of multiple functionalities to fully realize the benefits of technology and empower their patients.”

The 2017 Survey also asked primary care physicians if their patients are able to currently access a variety of digital health services such as patient ability to view their health record online (e-view), book an appointment online (e-booking), or renew a prescription online (e-requests for prescription renewal ). Based on physician feedback, patient access to digital health services is low. According to the survey, citizen access to their own record, with the capacity to add text notes, documentation, or upload digital measurements from smart connected devices or mobile apps offers the most opportunity for growth.

Supporting physicians and empowering Canadians to take a more active role in their health are main priorities for Infoway. We commend the CMA for its leadership and will continue to work with the organization and other stakeholders to ensure that the benefits of digital health for clinicians, patients and their families are fully realized.

About Canada Health Infoway

Infoway helps to improve the health of Canadians by working with partners to accelerate the development, adoption and effective use of digital health across Canada. Through our investments, we help deliver better quality and access to care and more efficient delivery of health services for patients and clinicians. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government.



Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate/Internal Communications
Canada Health Infoway
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Results of a recent patient survey and observational study found virtual visits, medical consultations between a patient and provider via videoconference, suggest that this new model of care is responsive to patients’ needs and could offer health system value including the potential to lower primary care costs.