The Government of Canada has launched the ‘Connected Care for Canadians Act’, a new legislative measure designed to enhance patient safety by providing secure access to personal health information.  

Health Minister Mark Holland introduced Bill C-72, the Connected Care for Canadians Act, outlining the country’s plan to facilitate a modern and connected healthcare system. 

The Act is set to empower patients in their decision-making by enabling them to securely access their own health data and share it with providers when required.  

This accessibility is expected to improve the care provided by health professionals across the country.  

The government has highlighted that delayed access to personal health information can lead to patient harm, including unnecessary tests, extended wait times, hospital stays, and instances of medication errors. 

The legislation is set to ease the burden on patients, families, and caregivers by simplifying the process of medical history recall and repetition.  

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It is also expected to help in alleviating the stress on healthcare providers, who often make decisions without complete access to patient information. 

The Connected Care for Canadians Act will require information technology (IT) companies offering digital health services in the country to adopt common standards, facilitating the secure and protected exchange of information across different systems.  

Federal, territorial, and provincial governments are collaborating on the implementation of a Pan-Canadian Interoperability Roadmap.  

This roadmap will guide the transition to connected care, with the help of common data and interoperability standards.  

In addition, the legislation seeks to expedite the adoption of these standards and enable secure information sharing across platforms.  

Despite this, it will only apply in provinces and territories that lack similar legislation. 

Holland said: “This legislation is about enabling Canadians to access their own health data and to use that information to make better decisions about their health care, no matter where in Canada they are receiving it.  

“It will also allow health care professionals to deliver higher quality and coordinated care and make more informed patient decisions. Ultimately, this legislation will lead to improved health outcomes and will also help lay the foundation for a modernised, connected health system for all Canadians.”