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Through digital health, Canada has a window of opportunity to transform the way its health-care system operates to better meet the needs of Canadians. Despite decades of reform and renewal initiatives and sustained increases in public spending, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the gap that exists between the expectations of citizens and the often-outmoded nature of health care in Canada. It has also served as a reminder to government and industry partners of what is possible through effective collaboration. The technology to improve patient outcomes already exists, but there needs to be a sustained effort to uplift our health-care system and transcend the status quo.

This report highlights the key outcomes and discussion threads of two roundtables of experts and stakeholders convened by Public Policy Forum on 8 December 2021 and 11 March 2022.

Key findings:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed shortcomings in Canada’s health-care system with respect to digital health. These are systemic rather than isolated weaknesses and have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • There are significant gaps in coverage as well as huge disparities in who has access to good care.
  • Health-care journeys in Canada should be patient-centric. This will happen when data follows patients and influences outcomes.
  • Mutual mistrust and negative past experiences are leading to missed opportunities for public and private sector collaboration.
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