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3. Advancing interoperability together: Perspectives from Canadians, clinicians, and health leaders

Patient health information is essential to the delivery of safe, effective health care. Interoperability improves continuity of care, collaboration between health providers and is essential to facilitating the delivery of quality patient care. This panel will examine experiences of patients, providers, and  health leaders to understand progress towards interoperability. 


Learning Objectives

Attendees of the panel discussion will be able to:

•    Explain the role of interoperability in a high performing health care system

•    Describe the varied perspectives on the current state of interoperability across Canada 

•    Remember critical factors to consider in collaboratively advancing interoperability  


Activities, methods, innovations

This presentation will use data from studies conducted in 2021-22 to inform and guide discussion around advancing interoperability in Canada including the 2021 Canadian Digital Health Survey (n=12,052) and the 2021 National Survey of Canadian Physicians (n=2071), as well as findings from the Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Surveys.  Additional two studies currently underway to assess the Canadian interoperability landscape from the perspectives of clinicians (target n=750) and industry and health system leaders (target n=175) will also be presented. 


Outcomes, results

In 2021, 35% of physicians said they were able to electronically exchange patient clinical summaries with any doctors outside practice, with longitudinal trends suggesting gradual improvement.  In 2021, 32% of Canadians said they accessed their health information electronically.  In 2020, 16% of Canadian adults reported that when they saw a specialist, they did not have the basic medical information needed from their regular doctor. Additional findings highlight the variation in the current state of interoperability across Canada.  Health leaders across the country report variations in existing infrastructure and capability for interoperability. 


A moderated panel discussion will address:

1.    The current landscape of interoperability across Canada

2.    Existing interoperability gaps in current practice across clinical settings

3.    Improving the understanding of interoperability infrastructure, clincial adoption, workflows, drivers and barriers 

4.    Opportunities that support rapid advancement of interoperability



Despite huge progress in digital health overall, issues with exchange patient information persist, especially during transitions of care. Leading health systems show that connected systems are healthier systems and addressing interoperability challenges go beyond technology. 


Leadership lessons learned: Top priorities to address and specific barriers to overcome in advancing interoperability across the health care system


System changes: Collaboration and communication across all parts of the health system are key to advancing interoperability.  



Simon Hagens - Senior Director, Performance Analytics, Canada Health Infoway



Sukirtha Tharmalingam - Manager, Performance Analytics, Canada Health Infoway

Abhi Kalra - Vice President, Portfolio Management, Canada Health Infoway

Brent Diverty - Vice President, Data Strategies and Statistics, Canadian Institute for Health Information

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