October 14, 2022

Notes from the Fall Symposium: Coast-to-coast provincial digital transformation strategies

From notes written by Digital Health Canada Student Member Annie-Kim Nguyen, University of Waterloo

The CHIEF Executive Forum Fall Symposium took place on Thursday, September 22, 2022. 65 digital health and healthcare delivery leaders gathered in Toronto to to collaborate, exchange best practices, and share their expertise in setting the agenda for the effective use of information and technology to improve health and healthcare in Canada.

The 9:45 am Coast-to-coast-to-coast provincial digital transformation strategy update featured federal and provincial public sector panelists from the Newfoundland and Labrador (Blair White), Ontario (Angela Copeland, Greg Hein), British Columbia (Shannon Malovec), and Quebec (Jo Voisin, Philippe Lottin) sharing updates from across Canada.

Coast to-coast provincial digital transformation strategy update

Update from Health Canada

  • Health data is a huge priority and a huge issue toward better understanding our health system and how to improve it.
  • Data gaps exist—for example we have a lot of physicians but we don’t know how many hours they work and how many patients they have
  • Primary care delivery faces significant policy issues—we are moving towards team-based care to leverage each scope of practice
  • Current priorities include: surgical backlog data and how to connect systems; primary care vs team based care; health data and digital health; mental health and virtual mental health care; lack of data and tools around supportive care, long term care, and personal support workers
  • How can we transform health care with virtual care and team based care, and how does it serve Canadians?
  • Pan-Canadian health strategy: how to improve health care across the country; how to connect health systems and the governance and interoperability standards required; public engagement and trust; making sure data can support research and innovation.

Update from British Columbia

  • Need to coordinate covid response led to the development of new digital strategy
  • Strategic priorities: focus on empowering patients, give them tools to better interact with health system (ex: implementation of provincial and regional portals, online vaccine booking); improve provider experience by building a seamless and productive experience for patient care; interoperability and a connected health care system (ereferral, econsult); human resource challenges need data across systems. We need to know where we have problems in order to make good decisions.
  • Overall goal is to advance to quality learning. The key is to have data. We need common objectives province-wide and we need to deliver quickly.

Update from Ontario

  • Modernization and transformation are priority, but will be challenged because of existing legacy systems
  • Use digital innovations to advance provincial priorities
  • Initiatives: digital ID expanded to pharmacy and public health to improve user experience and integrate physician experience; inspection system for long term care homes; expansion of care and contact system; improve triage system for ambulances; enterprise data exchange
  • Ontario health data platform: aim to create default of sharing data
  • Need big structural changes and clear rules
  • Cyber security, virtual care (need right mix of in-person and virtual video, telephone, messaging), need to create right incentives
  • Convince government to axe the fax

Update from Quebec

  • We act to change health not systems
  • Information technology (share data to CIHI, need to evaluate health system)
  • Modernization plan
  • Need rapid wins and to keep up that rhythm—invest in short term projects for rapid results
  • Need private sector for workforce and resources
  • Health records: need to change architecture to build a comprehensive EHR and encourage citizens to participate in their health.
  • EHR should provide similar interface to health care providers and patients
  • Aim to reach HIMSS 6
  • Need viewer (PACS, cloud) and integrated systems

Update from Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Access problems due to HR challenges and social determinants (health equity)
  • Digitize and connect care, interoperability; digitize patient engagement; gather data for decision making, operational excellence, efficiency, accuracy, availability
  • Key enablers: legislation, change management, architecture change

Download the complete 2022 Fall Symposium Program here, or contact chief@digitalhealthcanada.com for more information.