Government of Canada Invests nearly $16 Million to Expand Virtual Health Care Services in Alberta
April 14, 2021 | Ottawa, Ontario | Health Canada
Canada's universal, publicly funded health care system is a source of pride for Canadians. The Government of Canada is working closely with provincial and territorial governments to strengthen health care and adapt the system to the challenges of delivering health care during the COVID-19 pandemic and as we move into recovery.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced the signature of a bilateral agreement with Alberta to support efforts to expand virtual health care services for its residents. Under the agreement, the province will invest federal funding based on agreed-upon pan-Canadian priorities for accelerating virtual health care services during the pandemic.
Through this bilateral agreement, Alberta is receiving nearly $16 million to expand their efforts on virtual health services.
Alberta has also finalized its action plan that outlines how the province is investing the funding under the bilateral agreement to expand virtual health services. Alberta will using the funding to:
- Establish an eHealth Strategy that includes virtual care;
- Expand the MyHealth Records patient portal information and capabilities;
- Develop secure messaging and collaboration services to enhance communication; and,
- Develop a privacy and security framework for virtual care.
Through these initiatives, Alberta is working to improve access to health care services while prioritizing the patient experience, and keeping the privacy and security considerations of health information top of mind.
"Now more than ever, Canadians need access to virtual health care services to support their health. We are working with provincial and territorial partners to support the rapid deployment of these services for Canadians, so they can access the care they need, whenever they need it. Today's investment will support Alberta in its work to meet the health needs of Albertans during this pandemic, through expanded virtual health services."
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Canada's Minister of Health
"One of our overarching goals is to expand virtual health care services for Albertans across the province. Throughout the pandemic, we have leveraged the use of virtual technologies to provide Albertans with seamless, access to care options. Alberta already has several virtual-care initiatives underway, and the federal funding will support Alberta Health's plan to expand the virtual health-care system in our province."
Alberta's Minister of Health
"This is an important step to provide Alberta residents with access to more virtual health care services. Supporting virtual services is one way our government is working with provinces and territories to improve health outcomes and access to services, while meeting patient needs during COVID.”
The Honourable Jim Carr
Special Representative for the Prairies
On May 3, 2020, the Prime Minister announced an investment of $240.5 million to increase access to virtual services and digital tools to support Canadians' health and wellbeing.
$150 million of that funding will be provided to provinces and territories through targeted bilateral agreements aimed at expanding virtual health services in five priority areas for immediate action to support further embedding these services within Canadian health systems, namely:
- secure messaging and file transfer,
- secure videoconferencing,
- remote patient monitoring technologies,
- patient access to their COVID-19 and other lab results, and
- back-end supports for integration and/or alignment of these new platforms or existing tools.
This funding is also in addition to the $50 million in incremental federal funding allocated to Canada Health Infoway to further support provincial and territorial efforts to rapidly implement new initiatives in keeping with the five priority areas.
Bilateral agreements on virtual care are a time-limited initiative aimed at ensuring that Canadians can continue to access the health care services they need during this time of uncertainty.
Health Canada is building on this investment by working with provinces and territories on related policy issues. This will enable the longer-term adoption of high-quality and safe virtual health care services as a complement to in-person care.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
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