The Babylon by Telus Health app. (Black Press Media)

Canadians ready for more health-care technology, virtual care: poll

Eight in 10 were interested in the ability to access all of their health information on one electronic platform

A new poll suggests the majority of Canadians are ready to embrace more technology in health care, and it seems many would even trust a private company like Google or Apple with personal data if that meant 24-hour access to their doctor.

The report, titled “The Future of Connected Health Care,” found many respondents believed technology can reduce wait times and improve access through virtual visits, and that robot-assisted surgery can improve overall health.

The Ipsos poll was conducted between June 26 and July 2 on behalf of the Canadian Medical Association. Its findings were released Thursday.

When asked, most of the 2,005 respondents believed technology was already good for health care, with 68 per cent agreeing it helped their doctor keep them informed, and 63 per cent agreeing it improved their health-care experience.

Eight in 10 were interested in the ability to access all of their health information on one electronic platform and seven in 10 believed that having such a platform would reduce medical errors.

But there were also concerns — 77 per cent worried about losing human connection, 75 per cent feared risking their privacy, and 71 per cent were wary of opening the door to private health care.

The survey involved interviews with Canadians aged 18 and older and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“The anticipation that technology will lead to even greater improvements in the health-care system should not come as a surprise as Canadians have experienced rapid growth of new technologies across all aspects of their lives over the last decade and a half,” notes the study, which points to other statistics suggesting growing tech adoption in online banking and shopping.

Respondents were divided on whether they believed the health system will improve, worsen, or stay the same in the next 10 years. But among the 29 per cent who thought it will improve, the top reason was better technology.

In the future, 76 per cent of those surveyed believed technology could help providers see more patients, 70 per cent believed it could remove the administrative burden on doctors, and 69 per cent expected it would improve health outcomes.

Three-quarters were interested in using patient portals — described as a secure online website that could book appointments, allow for online conversations with their doctor, and provide 24-hour access to personal health information.

And four in 10 respondents said they would subscribe to a private, paid virtual service to store personal health information if it could connect them to their doctor or health team whenever they wanted.

However, concerns increased with age — while 55 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 said they would subscribe, that number dropped to 45 per cent among respondents aged 35 to 54, and 31 per cent of those older than 55.

Whether Canada is ready for virtual care — in which a patient could consult with various health-care providers through a virtual platform — is another matter.

The report notes that overall, digital approaches are “vastly under-utilized (or unavailable) in Canada,” with just 1 per cent of Canadians reporting that they had used virtual care or online patient portals.

ALSO READ: Bodies of B.C. fugitives believed to have been found in Manitoba

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Giddy Up – annual Mustang car show comes to Langley

The Mustang has been on the market for 55 years, and owners gather to celebrate the iconic Ford.

Son of slain former Hells Angel is one of two men sentenced for crime spree

Pair’s 2017 series of Lower Mainland robberies stretched from Surrey to Mission

Debussy, Chopin, Bartok, and a selection of Celtic favourites

‘Music for a summer afternoon’ features live harp and flute performances at Trinity Western House

Vancouver Giants Scouts sticking with team for another season

Contracts extended for Head Scout Terry Bonner and Scouting Director Daryl Anning

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

‘Person of interest’ identified after suspicious meat left in North Delta park

Piles of meat have been dumped near the 63rd Avenue trail entrance four times in the last 30 days

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Oppenheimer Park residents told to leave, clear out tents by Aug. 21

Police say park has seen influx of residents, violence in recent months

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Most Read