A recent survey of 12,445 Canadians conducted by federally funded, not-for-profit, Canada Health Infoway, shows that most Canadians are interested in accessing health services digitally. 

While the study focuses on patient’s access to their own personal health information and the digital functionality of health care providers – physicians and pharmacists – there are findings of interest to group benefits plan designers who also make digital health services part of their companies’ offerings.

Overall, the survey found that 94 per cent of Canadians are interested in accessing digital health services, with the majority being interested in services that are generally available already, such as the ability to get a prescription sent directly to pharmacies by physicians without the need for a paper prescription. Canada Health Infoway says it has been tracking digital health awareness, use and perceptions among Canadians annually since 2010. 

The survey, however, also discusses the ability to have a telephone consultation with healthcare providers – 72 per cent of those surveyed were interested in such access. The ability to access websites or use mobile apps which help monitor aspects of a patient’s health or well-being was valued by 60 per cent of those surveyed. Access to technology that would help or support mental health and wellness, or to address substance abuse was of interest to 59 per cent of survey respondents and a similar number said they would like to consult with healthcare providers about specific issues or concerns by email, text message or online chat.