Canada is one of the most mobile-connected countries in the world. However, while other industries have become more efficient and customer-centric, the health sector still has some way to go to make the most of the available innovations.

Canadian consumers ready to adopt mHealth to obtain faster access to care

Doctors and patients all over the world now agree not only that virtualisation of healthcare is just around the corner, but first and foremost that it will bring about an improvement in healthcare services. In order to remain competitive in this sector, Canada is currently implementing new health service delivery methods. To understand more about the potential impact of these changes, analysts at consultancy PwC surveyed close to 2,500 Canadian patients and caregivers as part of a new study, asking them to share their ideas on the future of healthcare in Canada. It turns out that most of those surveyed are interested in mHealth tools that can improve access to healthcare and speed up treatment delivery.

Canadians ready for vHealth and mHealth

Canadians are increasingly getting themselves connected with the latest technologies. In one year, the rate of tablet adoption has almost doubled, and close to one Canadian in two now has a smartphone. They are therefore increasingly at ease with online interactions. More than three quarters (78%) of respondents believe their privacy and confidentiality are well-protected today and 76% rate their current quality of care as high. However, close to half of those polled believe that mHealth applications will make healthcare more accessible over the next three years and nearly a quarter (23%) pointed to certain areas that could be improved by using more up-to-date communication channels. Fully 79% of the patients surveyed said they would like to communicate with their doctors via email and 83% would be happy to use online prescription renewal services.

Improving access to and speed of healthcare

Virtualisation of healthcare is an essential element in modernising the system and is especially crucial as regards improving access to health services. Just under a quarter of the Canadians surveyed indicated that they would definitely be comfortable with ‘virtual monitoring’ of their medical condition if available, and a further 43% were ready to consider this approach. Some 32% judge that vHealth would reduce their travelling time and 27% reckon it would mean faster access to care. In fact overall opinion on healthcare in the maple leaf country is changing. Doctors as well as patients are increasingly aware of the transformation being brought about by health virtualisation and realise that it is going to improve access to care. Of the doctors surveyed for the study, 59% believe that mHealth is inevitable even though it will take some time before it is fully adopted. Similarly, 52% of the patients polled predict that mHealth will improve access to healthcare.

By Pauline Trassard