Canadian health care lags in mobile adoption: IDC

The prevalence of mobile technology is being felt in most in many industries but its adoption is lagging in health care where its implementation are likely to provide major benefits, according to a recent report by analyst firm IDC Canada.

“We’re seeing nearly half of respondents have not deployed any mobile technologies in their field of work,” according to Allison Brooks research director for public sector at IDC. “While mobility is high on the list of priorities in other industries, this doesn’t seem to be the case with the health care sector.”

In an online survey of health care providers from across the country, the analyst firm found that more than 46 per cent of health care respondents said their organization has not deployed any mobile applications. By contrast, 37.5 per cent of all industries have not deployed mobile apps, according to the study titled “Perspective: m-health in Canada – Smart phones and apps bring better health care to your fingertips.” The report was authored by Brooks and Krista Napier, senior analyst for mobility at IDC Canada.


CATA now pushes for m-health in emergency network

IDC defines m-health or mobile health as the use of mobile devices to support the practice of medicine, public health and all related care services. This involves the delivery of health services and information via mobile technologies such as mobile phones and tablet devices.

The study identified four key areas where m-health focuses:

Caregiver community – Collaborative medicine, coordinated care, and access to mission critical clinical applications at the point of care

Telemedicine – Remote diagnostics, remote treatment, education

Health and wellness – Sleep management, healthy eating, accessing health records, exercise management, countering addiction

Care self-management – Medication management, managing vital signs, monitoring disease, self-education and alarms and alerts

Despite these uses, the study found only 7.6 per cent of health care providers have implemented two or more applications compared to 30 per cent of all industries.

Mobility is only fifth in the list of top health care IT priorities.

“Health care respondents’ top priorities are application consolidation and modernizations and workplace/desktop improvement, followed by software implementations and workplace/desktop consolidation and automation,” the study said. “Only then will they begin to focus on network improvements and mobility integration and improvement.

Surprisingly, health care is lagging in deployment of mobile applications the sector is ahead in pilot testing. Some 26 per cent of health care respondents take part in m-health testing compared to 21.9 per cent for all industries.

The study said government plays a critical role in driving m-health adoption in the country.

It said Canada’s health care framework presents a challenge. For instance, the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care services are available to all Canadians and it is also responsible for health protection, pharmaceutical, food and medical device regulation as well as disease surveillance and prevention.

However, provincial and territorial governments are responsible for delivering health and social services based on federal guidelines.

The system can breed some difficulties for instance in the area of medical devices and their apps.

In Canada, legislation limits Health Canada to regulating medical devices that are for sale but not the apps that are free to consumers or that are hosted in other countries and accessible through the Internet.

“Transforming Canada’s health care system, including m-health, requires all levels of government to collaborate and work together,” the report said.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now