$1 billion in health system savings in 2017, equivalent to 5.6 million emergency department visits
April 4, 2018 (Toronto) – Thanks to investments in digital health, Canada’s health system is becoming less fragmented, allowing clinicians better access to more information. This growing access to connected health information in Canada is producing significant financial and time savings benefits for patients, our health system and our economy, according to a new pan-Canadian study commissioned by Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) and conducted by Gartner.
Connected Health Information in Canada: A Benefits Evaluation Study, shows the value of providers continuing to gain electronic access to core clinical systems that make up an electronic health record (EHR), including diagnostic images, medication profiles, laboratory test results and other clinical reports. When clinicians are able to access more than one of these systems, they are collectively referred to as interoperable electronic health records (iEHRs), or connected health information.
This connected health information is improving the experience for patients and providers by decreasing wait times and unnecessary medical appointments, which increases capacity in the health system, enables providers to see more patients, and saves patients time, resulting in an overall increase in productivity for the economy.
At the current adoption levels, connected health information is contributing significant value with the potential for even greater benefits with increased adoption and use:
- Health system savings: $1 billion/year, with a potential of $3.9 billion/year
- Provider time savings: 5.9 million hours/year, with a potential of 15 million hours/year
- Patient time savings: 18 million hours/year, with a potential of 76 million hours/year
- Economic productivity gains (time not lost from work): $189 million/year, with a potential of $732 million/year.
“The investments that Infoway and its partners made in electronic medical records (EMRs) and the core clinical systems of an EHR, created the foundation for health information sharing across the care spectrum,” said Michael Green, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. “A decade ago only one quarter of primary care physicians used EMRs, and today it’s 85 per cent. There has also been a significant increase in the number of clinicians who are using iEHRs. We always knew that the true value would be unlocked when individual EHR components were connected and being used by vast numbers of providers.”
“Electronic health records allow health care practitioners to have a better picture of the patient, particularly after transitions in care,” explained Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia, primary care physician and study advisory panel member. “This information reduces time spent piecing together what happened, which allows me to focus on the management plan for the patient to help them stay healthy.”
“Using Infoway’s benefits evaluation framework, along with a standardized methodology for valuing the effects of digital health, and guidance of an Advisory Panel of health care experts, this research reveals valuable insights,” said Simon Hagens, Group Director, Evaluation Services at Canada Health Infoway. “Although connected health has significant value at present adoption levels, we have identified critical success factors to facilitate greater adoption, with the potential for even greater benefits that could impact all Canadians.”
The study is available at www.infoway-inforoute.ca/connectedhealth.
About Canada Health Infoway
Canada Health 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.
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