Report shows Canada almost dead last for electronic technology

Canada’s family doctors are more likely to scribble down your symptoms rather than type patient medical records.


A new report from the Conference Board of Canada shows the majority of our primary care providers or family doctors have yet to embrace technology and our universities need a research and development boost.


Less than one in four Canadian primary care doctors use electronic medical records to keep track of patients, the lowest of all countries examined, the report noted.


And only 65 per cent of these physicians use the Internet. That’s well below Finland and Sweden, whose physicians seem to be more web savvy: Both Nordic countries report Internet use at 90 per cent.

“This report is on the money,” said Richard Alvarez, president and CEO of Canada Health Infoway, a federally funded organization charged to develop health projects. “As it comes to electronic medical records, found in doctors offices, we are clearly at the bottom of the heap or pretty close to the bottom of the heap. We are actually fighting with the U.S. as to who’ll be last.”

Funding for doctors to keep computerized medical records hasn’t been a priority for Canada, said Alvarez. Safety experts say an investment in IT reduces medical errors.

Our researchers do love to publish. In 2005, Canadians produced 714 published articles per 1 million capita, compared with 527 per 1 million, the average for the other OECD comparator countries.

Two more poor grades

  • Canadian primary care or family doctors also reported the lowest capability to access electronic medical records from outside their offices and a low ability to share the records with other health practitioners.