Technology and IT in Canada’s Health System

In the year 2000, the Canadian government invested $ 500 million into health information and communication technologies. In 2001, Health Info way was incorporated whose aim was to develop an electronic health information system. Electronic health records are important in having a smooth running health care system. These online records offer healthcare providers with quick access to patient’s medical records, visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs and laboratory tests and meanwhile protecting the patient’s privacy.

With quicker access to patient’s records, physicians are able to expedite diagnosis and treatment, improve the quality and safety of the patient by reducing the chances of giving patients medicine they are allergic to, physicians are able to be more efficient by avoiding duplication of tests and, improving the quality of the data. The U. S. Healthcare System As Compared To Canadian Health Care System It is important to note that U. S. signed sweeping healthcare reform legislation in the spring of 2010, which will now include a public option insurance plan.

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The reform is still in the making and significant changes will not happen for another four years. The Canadian system is mostly publicly funded while the U. S. is mostly a privately funded system. People who favor the Canadian system argue that it seems to provide more services for a lower cost. Canada is able to provide most of its citizens healthcare while in the U. S. nearly one in five elderly Americans cannot afford health insurance. Canada spends 10. 4 percent of its GDP on healthcare while the U. S. spends 16% and yet the Canadian system is able to produce higher life expectancy rates and fewer infant mortality rates.

The U. S. System has more available health care resources. The U. S. provides its citizens with more cancer screenings and mammogram for women and PSA and colonoscopies for men. In the US, 86 percent of women compared to 73% of women in Canada between the ages of 40 to 69 have had such tests. The U. S. offers more high –tech equipment in their healthcare system which are more readily available compared to the Canadian system. The U. S. citizens have more social problems such as drug use and illegal immigration as compared to Canada and hence have to charge more in healthcare.

The malpractice suits are higher in the U. S. than they are in Canada, hence higher costs but with accountability among the physicians, there is less room for error. Canada has more wait times to get services especially when it comes to seeing specialists as compared to the U. S. Many Canadians who do not go for treatment for some conditions cite wait times as the reason as compared to cost in the U. S. Studies indicate that Americans are satisfied with their health care services and rank the quality of healthcare as excellent. Quality of Canadian Health Care System

The most obvious hindrance to the quality of the Canadian Health care system is the wait time. In an issue of the Wall Street Journal wrote on April 23, 2004, Pierre Lemieux states that although Canada has free health care, it is actually not free for the tax payers. Canadians are prohibited from seeking private medical assistance and the health insurance is compulsory and monopolistic. Canadians cannot have private insurance coverage and physicians are dictated to how much to charge for their services and the drug prices are also set by the government.

Waiting is the biggest flaw in the Canadian system. Patients are made to wait for more than four months to see a specialist. On an emotional level, Canadians state that the Canadian staff compared to the U. S. lacks professionalism or good customer service. There is a three tier system in Canada, the first tier is where the rich are able to fly out of the country and pay for high tech treatment, the second tier is where the knowledgeable Canadians can find ways to get better health care like getting ahead of the queue.

The third tier is for the unconnected citizens who have to wait a long time for their care. GDP Devoted to Health care in Canada Health care spending is rising faster than both inflation and the growth of the economy. Healthcare spending in the 70’s was around 7% of the GDP and in 2004 it rose slightly to 9. 9%. It is challenging to measure the spending in healthcare as a percentage of the GDP because over the years the Canadian economy has grown, which in turn has allowed the government to put in more resources into healthcare.

Over the years, Canada has had enough to spend on non-health related goods and services because Canada is able to spend less on healthcare leaving money for other services. From 1992 to 2004, per capita spending on healthcare increased at a rate of 2. 3% and during the same time the GDP increased at 1. 7 a year. However, with the recession the government is yet to see how things might change because, healthcare costs keep increasing at the rate of about 6% a year which would be unsustainable in about 10 years and yet Canada is currently undergoing a recession.


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