Canada’s Health System and Digital Health Policy




Health care remains a top policy priority in Canada and a key defining characteristic of Canadian identity. Under Canada’s universal, publicly‐funded health insurance plan (Medicare), all Canadians have access to medically necessary hospital and doctor care regardless of the ability to pay.Yet, like health systems across the industrialized world, Canada’s faces growing challenges. An aging and increasingly diverse population, global pandemics, emerging and more costly medical technologies and drugs, and rising public expectations about timely access to care, put additional demands on already stretched health care resources.The site of care is shifting as more care moves out of hospitals and into home and community, as well as online. Individuals and communities are demanding a greater role in decision-making and greater choice in where and how they receive care. There are increasing pressures to harmonize domestic health care policies with global “benchmarks” and to take advantage of the potential for digital technologies to transform care. In spite of billions of new health care dollars, public concerns about wait times for non‐emergency care continue to fuel debate about health system sustainability and the need for private pay care options.MHI2021 will develop and apply a policy analysis “tool kit” to critically analyze key issues and trends in Canada’s health care system and digital health policy, with a particular focus on understanding the ways in which digital technologies can help to address long-standing Canadian health system challenges and how individuals both within and outside government can shape this future.Course sections examine the current state of health care in Canada, the public-private mix, the influence of powerful interest groups, and the determinants of health, paying particular attention to the ideas, interests, and institutions which have shaped the Canadian health care system in the past and which now shape its future.This graduate course is designed for health professionals and students of health policy who need to “make sense” of and meaningfully influence a rapidly changing and increasingly politicized health care environment in which “evidence” is often only one factor driving the pace and direction of change.

Learner Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify major elements of Canada’s health care system
  • Explain current digital health policy issues and trends in Canada and internationally
  • Apply a conceptual policy analysis toolkit to “make sense” of a volatile digital health policy environment
  • Better understand how to navigate and shape the digital health policy landscape
  • Write short, concise briefing notes which synthesize academic articles, policy papers and reports as the basis for evaluating and recommending policy options
  • Value the need for a policy analytic approach





Canada’s Health System and Digital Health Policy


The class is online synchronous, but students also have the option to attend in-person.
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