In 2022, the digital health market in Canada was forecast to reach revenues of approximately 2.4 billion U.S. dollars. This would represent a nine percent growth from the preceding year. When broken down this market was projected to be made up of revenues of 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in the eHealth segment and 970 million U.S. dollars from the digital fitness and well-being division. The eHealth segment within digital health encompasses such things as doctor consultations which take place via technologies (such as video or online) rather than in person, and devices that track the health metrics of a person.
COVID-19 pandemic drives increased use of digital health
The pandemic forced healthcare practices in Canada, and across the world, to provide alternatives to physical appointments, as social distancing policies were enforced and there were health concerns about many people meeting in a single place. In 2020, over a third of Canadians had an appointment with their physician virtually. Furthermore, in the same period, around a third of people in Canada obtained a prescription virtually and a fifth had a specialist visit carried out virtually. Rather importantly, the vast majority of those who had a virtual care experience in Canada in 2020 were satisfied with the care they received. Moreover, over 95 percent felt their personal health information was treated with the level of privacy and confidentiality they expected, while around 70 percent of patients said a virtual appointment helped to reduce anxiety when compared with an in-person visit.
The comfort of healthcare workers in Canada with digital health
In 2021, a survey of physicians in Canada found that 84 percent reported they believed that virtual care improved patients’ access to care. While three-quarters stated that virtual care enabled physicians to provide more efficient care and that virtual care had been simple to integrate into the workflow of their practice. In general, most physicians have been satisfied with virtual care, particularly with telephone and video visits. Although, on the other hand, the biggest factors which have been limiting the further use of telehealth in Canada are put down to difficulties some patients have with the technology and a lack of access or availability of the technology.
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