Standing Committee on Health (HESA)

This week the committee studied the topic of technological innovation in the health sector. During both meetings, the committee heard from members of provincial public service organizations, as well as from members of the medical, university and First Nations communities from across Canada.

Committee members heard a number of compelling cases where Canadians’ lives were improved through the usage of “telehealth” or “eHealth” services provided through collaboration between provincial and federal governments. These services make use of mobile internet and telecommunications technology to help patients monitor their own health and to provide them with information to make better health choices. Witnesses told the committee that cost savings and better healthcare delivery possible through these kinds of innovations make federal attention on the topic worthwhile.

A number of witnesses drew particular attention to the benefit that could be accrued from using these kinds of innovations in rural or isolated communities whose medical facilities and practitioners are strained by lack of resources. First Nations communities were highlighted as potential beneficiaries from expanded access to telehealth services.

The committee meeting on October 25th was called to order later than originally scheduled due to votes occurring in the House of Commons. During the same meeting, Vice-Chair Hedy Fry attempted to introduce a motion during the public portion of the meeting that the committee undertake a study on Part 4, Division 13 of Bill C-45, and report its findings on the study to the House no later than November 5th 2012, but she was instructed by the Chair that she had to wait until after the witnesses had left. Consequently, her motion to study the budget implementation bill was not to be acted upon until the meeting resumed ‘in camera’. The Minutes of that in camera meeting can be found here.