Call for Canada and USA to improve collaboration on connected health
September 27, 2017
To transform healthcare delivery in Canada and the USA through the best use of information technology, leading stakeholder groups have released a report highlighting opportunities for improved cross-border partnership.
Digital health technologies help patients access care more efficiently, delivering services where the patient is located, when they need it, and in a manner that is conveniently available.
The report by the Cross-Border Health Foundation (CBH), in partnership with the Healthcare Information Management Systems & Society (HIMSS) North America and the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHA), captures proceedings from the Canada-USA Connected Health Workshop. The event assembled interested stakeholders and government officials from the USA and Canada to identify common goals and foster greater regulatory harmonisation in mobile health.
"Canada and the United States have a long history of working closely together on a wide range of policy issues, and this report identifies collaborative opportunities to realise the enormous potential of connected health technologies for patients," said Tom Leary, vice president at HIMSS. "While our health systems may seem dissimilar on the surface, many of the challenges associated with delivering better quality care are the same. By aligning regulatory approaches and fostering greater cooperation in areas such as privacy protection and cyber security, Canada and the United States can encourage the adoption of innovative technologies to the benefit of patients."
Among the recommendations for enhanced collaboration between the two countries is to add health information technology topics to future work plans under the Regulatory Cooperation Council to harness the potential of new technology, while also striking a balance with safety and security concerns.
Another goal is to establish a Canada-USA health privacy and security forum to promote knowledge exchange and regulatory consistency, and help establish a common front on health privacy protection in a digital age. The aim is to pursue a joint memorandum of understanding to govern the storage, handling and sharing of data for the purposes of research.
"We live in a mobile age, where individuals expect to access digital technology – including health technology – everywhere and anywhere," said Dani Peters, co-founder of the Cross-Border Health Foundation. “The mobility of individuals crossing the Canada-USA border demands a consistent regulatory approach that involves government, industry and the broader health sector. Special considerations for digital health should be added to the Canada-USA agenda, in areas that include the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Canada-USA Regulatory Cooperation Council."
The Cross-Border Health Foundation is a US-based organisation dedicated to bridging dialogue between Canada and the USA around common health priorities.
As a cause-based non-profit, HIMSS North America provides thought leadership, community building, professional development, public policy and events. It represents 64,000 individual members, 640 corporate members and more than 450 non-profit organisations.
The PCHA, a non-profit organisation formed by HIMSS, believes that health is personal and extends beyond healthcare. It mobilises a coalition of stakeholders to realise the potential of personal connected health.