Agfa HealthCare

Agfa HealthCare

December 08, 2009 10:26 ET

Great Healthcare Debate Continues: Survey Finds Canadians Aren't Sure About Healthcare Priorities

Agfa HealthCare commissioned survey reveals Canadians have a need for speed; yet are willing to wait for results

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 8, 2009) - Agfa HealthCare, a leading provider of diagnostic imaging and healthcare IT solutions, announces today that Canadians have mixed emotions about their priorities for the national healthcare system. According to a recent survey, conducted by Angus Reid on behalf of Agfa HealthCare, the number one healthcare concern for Canadians is hospital wait times; yet almost half of all Canadians said they're willing to wait up to three weeks to receive test results. Additionally, despite the current debate over a two-tier healthcare system, the survey results reveals that over half of Canadians (55 per cent) are not willing to pay for treatment at a private facility to skip the line - regardless of their level of income.

"With the current shortage of healthcare professionals in Canada, it's not at all surprising that the majority of Canadians are concerned about hospital wait times," said Dave Wilson, vice president, Agfa HealthCare Canada. "What is surprising is that Canadians appear to be content to wait almost a month for test results, which shows how much further we have to go in reaching our eHealth goals in Canada."

Not only are Canadians confused about what they want, but they are also unsure of what they currently have. Over half of Canadians said that the most important thing for their doctor was to have a comprehensive view of their medical history, however, one third of Canadians don't know if they have an electronic health record (EHR) - which provides doctors with a secure digital record of a patient's history. Another 36 per cent of Canadians believe they do have an electronic health record, compared to Canada Health Infoway's figure that is currently at 17 per cent.

What Canadians are clear on is the potential for technology to help address challenges within the healthcare system. Almost half of Canadians believe that the number one role technology plays in healthcare is to help save lives, and nearly one third believe that technology can help speed wait times in hospitals and healthcare facilities.

"It's unreasonable to think wait time issues can be solved overnight - yet technology can have the immediate impact that Canada's healthcare system needs today," said Wilson. "Offering healthcare workers the ability to do more with less time, improve efficiencies and deliver the best possible patient care - technology truly can transform today's healthcare organizations."

Other interesting findings:

- Women want Quality, Men want Speed - Females are more likely than males to say that the quality of care received at a hospital/healthcare facility is their biggest concern (26% vs. 17%). Males on the other hand, are more likely than females to worry about hospital wait times (43% vs. 34%).

- Coastal EHR Agreement - British Columbians and Atlantic Canadians are most likely to think they currently have an electronic health record (50% and 49%, respectively).

- Shallow Pockets vs. Big Spenders - Atlantic Canadians and Ontarians are the most adamant about not paying for private healthcare just to avoid wait times (76% and 62%, respectively). Whereas Quebecers are more likely to pay up to skip the line - 45% reveal they would be willing to pay up to one thousand dollars for private healthcare.

In 2008, Agfa HealthCare won two prestigious Canadian Health Informatics Awards hosted by ITAC Health. The Healthcare Transformation of the Year Award, for its digital imaging project with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and The Corporate Citizenship of the Year Award, recognizing its substantial investments in the Canadian health informatics industry.

About the Survey

From June 24 to June 25, Angus Reid conducted an online survey among a randomly selected, representative sample of 1,000 adult Canadians who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada.

About Agfa

The Agfa-Gevaert Group is one of the world's leading companies in imaging and information technology. Agfa develops, manufactures and markets analogue and digital systems for the printing industry (Agfa Graphics), for the healthcare sector (Agfa Healthcare), and for specific industrial applications (Agfa Materials). Agfa is headquartered in Mortsel, Belgium. The company is present in 40 countries and has agents in another 100 countries around the globe. The Agfa-Gevaert Group achieved a turnover of 3,032 million euros in 2008.

About Agfa HealthCare

Agfa HealthCare, a member of the Agfa-Gevaert Group, is a leading provider of IT-enabled clinical workflow and diagnostic image management solutions, and state-of-the-art systems for capturing and processing images in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Agfa HealthCare has over a century of healthcare experience related to diagnostic imaging and has been a pioneer on the healthcare IT market since the early 1990's. The business group has sales offices and agents in over 100 markets worldwide. Sales for Agfa HealthCare in 2008 were 1,223 million Euro.

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