As the pandemic disrupted traditional patient service models, the Canadian healthcare sector overwhelmingly adopted remote and telehealth technology solutions. New global research from SOTI, A Critical Investment: Taking the Pulse of Technology in Healthcare, shows 97% of Canadian healthcare providers have implemented IoT/telehealth medical device capabilities, with a large majority of them (68%) doing so since the start of the pandemic.
The increased adoption of new technologies in the healthcare sector is evident in 77% of IT healthcare professionals indicating they have increased their annual technology spend since 2020.
The rise in healthcare IT investments in Canada appears to be focused on three key elements: interconnectivity, automation and data management. Research revealed that 77% of IT healthcare professionals agree patient services benefit from heightened interconnectivity, 71% agree the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in patient care enables medical staff to treat more patients and 94% stated digital patient recordkeeping increases efficiency and enhances data sharing.
As part of its report, SOTI surveyed 150 healthcare IT professionals across Canada to better understand how their organizations pivoted to provide patient care throughout the pandemic, the role technology played in delivering positive patient outcomes and what major obstacles remain.
Data Security An Ongoing Concern
Seventy-eight per cent (78%) of IT healthcare professionals are worried about patient information being revealed, lost, accessed, stolen or inadequately backed up. These are justified concerns with 42% of organizations having experienced a data breach from an outside source, and 55% having experienced a data leak due to employee error since 2020. Healthcare IT professionals are primarily focused on the following data security concerns:
- Patient records being stolen in a cyberattack or hacking (40%)
- Financial cost if their organization experiences a data breach (39%)
- Patient information being revealed without patient consent (35%)In addition, 65% of IT professionals believe patient data security is more at risk than ever, while 49% agree their organization does not spend enough money on data security.
Addressing Device Downtime
Sixty-three per cent (63%) of Canadian IT healthcare professionals said their organization experiences downtime with IoT/telehealth medical devices, leading to patient care delays. This has resulted in each Canadian healthcare employee losing approximately 3.1 hours per week on average, adding up to approximately 19 days lost per year.
Using an online methodology, SOTI conducted 1,300 interviews with IT professionals in organizations providing frontline patient-facing healthcare services with 50+ employees across eight countries. All participants are aged 18 and over. Fieldwork was conducted from June 7 to 14, 2022. The interviews are split across eight markets as follows: U.S. (200 interviews), Canada (150 interviews), Mexico (150 interviews), UK (200 interviews), Germany (150 interviews), Sweden (150 interviews), France (150 interviews) and Australia (150 interviews).