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

Queen Charlotte crackdown

RCMP target impaired driving amidst rising numbers of the offence

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

Haida Gwaii storm causes B.C. ferry delay

Skidegate to Prince Rupert route affected

Rainfall warning for Haida Gwaii

High winds also expected to hit the islands

Haida Gwaii eagles recovering in Ladner care facility

Treatment for the eagles is both costly and time intensive

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience the ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

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

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Most Read