Canadian HCPs given digital era empowerment recommendations


The latest market study report from the Competition Bureau has provided recommendations to health care providers (HCPs) on how to improve the ways they work within Canada’s public health system.

‘Empowering health care providers in the digital era’ is the Competition Bureau’s third and final report published as part of its digital health care market study, which examines how pro-competitive policies can foster innovation and bring about greater choice and access to digital health care services for Canadians.

The new report states that digital health care is not being used to its full potential in Canada. Indeed, in 2021, a mere 14% of Canadians had undergone a virtual HCP visit, despite over 70% of physicians believing that virtual care improves patient access, both in terms of quality and efficiency.

The previous two reports – ‘Unlocking the power of health data’ and ‘Improving health care through pro-competitive procurement policy’ – identified ways policymakers can take action to unlock the power of health data and recommended various ways of ensuring public procurement policy helps foster greater competition and innovation, respectively.

This final report makes three recommendations to both Canadian governments and policymakers that they:

  1. Review existing health care provider payment models to support the appropriate use of digital health care;
  2. implement licensing frameworks that allow providers, where appropriate, to practise beyond provincial and territorial borders to improve digital health care delivery; &
  3. review and modernise policies to facilitate the effective uptake of digital health care.

By empowering HCPs to use the best available digital technologies lower costs, improved health care services, and improved patient outcomes will be enabled. Additionally, the study states that it will “spur innovation and the development of new products within the health care industry”.

Although there were advancements made in digital health care during the pandemic, rules and regulations within Canadian governments must evolve quickly to strengthen the health care system, as asserted by Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell:

“To foster competition in the digital future, Canada’s public health care policy needs to be modernised.”