GSL Director Discusses Canada’s Outdated Health data system in Toronto Star and on 640 Toronto

On July 13 & 14, GSL Director Steven Hoffman was quoted in a Toronto Star article and appeared on 640 Toronto’s Morning Show with guest host Peter Shurman to discuss Canada’s antiquated health data system, which according to Hoffman is likely “the worst in the OECD.”

In the Toronto Star article, Hoffman argued that while Canada’s federalist health care systems comes with certain advantages, there are a number of downstream consequences that have not allowed it to be the kind of national public health system that is needed to address public health emergencies such as COVID-19.

“A lot of the time, what this means is that we’re flying blind. [For] example: We don’t actually know how many people have died in Canada from COVID-19.”

This stems from the fact that Canadians’ records are conglomerates of files that are somewhere between all the different doctors and other health care professionals whom they see, and the hospitals and clinics that we visit.

“Today’s technology should allow us to bring that all together and let citizens access their health information as easily as we access our bank accounts, yet we’re very far from that reality.”

On the Morning Show, Hoffman illustrated the slow progression towards digitization by explaining that doctors still use fax machines to get prescriptions from their offices to pharmacies and that at the outset of COVID-19 labs sent out COVID test results by snail mail.

Read the full Star article here and listen to the radio show on the right.


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