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High Demand, but Low Usage, for Digital Healthcare Services in Canada

Almost 75% of the country's internet users search for health info online

Searching for health information online is just about de rigueur in Canada, as it is in many developed internet markets. According to polling by Harris/Decima for Canada Health Infoway, nearly three-quarters of internet users searched the web for health info as of last September, while 15% used a mobile health app.

Canada Health Infoway followed up that survey in March 2014, asking internet users in Canada more about what kinds of digital healthcare services they currently used—and what they might be interested in for the future. True “healthcare services” were used online only rarely: 10% of internet users reported making medical appointments online, while 7% had requested prescription renewals electronically.

An even lower 6% had accessed their medical records electronically—though this was also reported as the most desired health function respondents wanted from the web. More than six in 10 internet users wanted to view lab results and electronic health records (EHRs) securely online. Similarly, 61% wanted to make doctor’s appointments digitally.

While there is certainly demand for digital healthcare services, whether internet users in Canada actually use such functions remains to be seen.

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