As I have written about previously, healthcare in Canada is certainly different than in the United States, from the physician component, to the sector’s funding, to the system as a whole. The country’s desire to increase telehealth, however, is an appetite very similar to the U.S. as well as many other countries. For Canadian healthcare, telehealth is an important factor already and still growing, with value for patients, communities and healthcare providers. Telehealth is providing major contributions to care delivery in rural and remote areas in Canada, as well as patient and clinician education and training. Various Canadian studies have demonstrated that access barriers of distance and time are virtually eliminated while maintaining quality of service. A 2015 study shows some dramatic increases in the nation-wide adoption of telehealth. Here are a few highlights:
- Canada-wide, clinical telehealth sessions are up 46% from 2012 and 120% from 2010.
- 89 services offered, from anesthesiology to wound management.
- Mental health, neurology, oncology, pediatrics, and rehabilitation remain the most commonly delivered service in Canada.
- There has been a 42% increase (from 2012 to 2014) in the expansion of telehealth endpoints.
- Educational telehealth sessions have increased 78% since 2013.
- There has been a 50% increase (since 2013) in patients enrolled in remote patient monitoring.
“Telehealth continues to deliver on its traditional benefits of eliminating distance barriers while improving equity of access to services that often would otherwise not be available in remote and rural communities, along with reduced visits to the emergency rooms and enhanced healthcare provider-to-provider consultation.”
There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the integration of telehealth with electronic health records (EHRs) lately. In a similar tune with U.S. complaints, Canadian physicians report the need for telehealth systems to integrate with their EHRs. Platforms that successfully combine these systems could be the right compromise between patients and providers.
Canadian healthcare executives are also looking to increase remote patient monitoring in order to reduce hospital readmissions. The theory is also that better chronic care management will keep costs down. Through telehealth, you do not have to bring every patient into the office for small problems. You can “triage” them before they come in. Once again, integration with EHRs will enable physicians to better understand the condition of these patients on an ongoing basis to better support them during office visits, or in the case of a future acute event.
Visit us at StrategicTelehealth.com.