COVID-19 Has Increased the Appetite for Virtual Care, but Canadians Remain Wary of Privacy Concerns
Over the past year, Environics Research designed and conducted an unprecedented nationwide consultation on behalf of Canada Health Infoway, to understand Canadians’ vision for the future of the health care system. Reaching and engaging thousands of Canadians, with a particular focus on those typically underserved by the health care system, as well as Indigenous communities around the country, this innovative consultation became known as A Healthy Dialogue.
In order to include the widest possible spectrum of Canadian voices on this important topic, this study utilized a variety of engagement tools, including online and in-person focus groups; in-person interviews; online and telephone surveys; and an online engagement hub that allowed Canadians to log in and share their ideas, opinions and stories on the future of health care.
Results from this study were being finalized just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit in Canada. As such, a second wave was added, to determine the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian opinions regarding the future of their health care system.
Listen below to hear Environics Research VP of Consultation and Engagement Jodi Shanoff discuss the results of A Healthy Dialogue, and what this could mean for the future of the Canadian health care system.
Key takeaways from A Healthy Dialogue include:
- Increased experiences with virtual care, such as telephone and online appointments with health care professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, have resulted in a heightened appetite among Canadians for the benefits associated with new technological health care interventions.
- While Canadians are excited about some of the “futuristic” benefits that can come from advanced medical technologies, including tools like Artificial Intelligence, great focus is being placed on how technologies can address “first order” challenges in the Canadian health care system – challenges such as improving access to care and ensuring equity of services for all Canadians.
- The greatest barrier to the usage of digital health technologies for Canadians is a concern about the safety of personal health care data when accessed through digital tools.
- Other barriers to the use of digital health technologies include social issues such as socio-economic status, community of residence and health literacy, as well as technical issues, such as access to technology and technological literacy.
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