Ottawa, August 12, 2021—Telehealth, virtual care, and wearable devices were embraced across Canada during the pandemic to meet the demand for distance health. Moving forward, the continued expansion of digital technology adoption in healthcare has the potential to improve outcomes, access to care, and lower the costs of services—especially in rural and remote areas.

ICTC’s latest report, Digital Transformation: The Next Big Leap in Healthcare, unravels Canada’s evolving healthcare landscape in the context of technology adoption.

In 2019, healthcare accounted for 11.5% of Canada’s GDP. In late 2020, COVID-19-related health funding surpassed $29 billion. Key cost drivers such as population growth and age are likely to increase demand for healthcare services and spending in the coming years.

Digital Transformation explores key trends in health technology; the impact of centralized health records on data management and patient access to data; the growth of telehealth services during the pandemic; the use big data, machine learning and AI for drug discovery and clinician support; and other facets of digital healthcare.

Despite lagging some other jurisdictions such as the US in healthcare digital technologies adoption, Canada’s digital health future is bright. But ensuring optimal outcomes will require sustained effort along the following lines:

  • A focus on technology implementation and equity
  • Responsive and timely regulation of healthcare data use and privacy
  • Development of a skilled and interdisciplinary talent base
  • A robust digital talent pipeline
  • Procurement and funding mechanisms that support innovation, technology adoption, and pan-Canadian access to services

“We are on the cusp of a new era of accelerated and transformative changes in medical innovations rendering healthcare more connected, people-centric, and responsive to social determinants. The future of healthcare is paved with good intentions of engaged patients, data driven, while promoting greater health and disease prevention,” said Namir Anani, ICTC President & CEO.

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.

To arrange an interview with the lead researcher on this paper or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This study was funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

A French language version of this press release is available here.