Telehealth Benefits and Adoption: Connecting People and Providers Across Canada, a recent report commissioned by Canada Health Infoway, shows Canada has become a global leader in the use of Telehealth technology for delivery of health care. There are more than 5,700 Telehealth sites across the country and nearly 260,000 sessions were provided in 2010.
The technology is being used in many health care areas ranging from mental health and cancer follow-up to home monitoring and surgical consults. Patients benefit from access to specialized care closer to their homes instead of having to take time off work, incur travel costs and take long trips to get to appointments. For health care providers, using Telehealth can reduce their need to travel to different locations and allows them to serve the needs of more patients more quickly. The report shows that Telehealth contributes benefits to the health system valued at some $55 million annually.
The following spokespersons discuss the report's findings and the potential for expansion of Telehealth:
- Jennifer Zelmer, senior vice-president, clinical adoption and innovation, Canada Health Infoway;
- John Schinbein, executive director, Canadian Telehealth Forum of COACH, Canada's Health Informatics Association and member of the report's study advisory panel; and
- Dr. Mark Guttman, neurologist, Centre for Movement Disorders, Toronto, Ontario.