Last month I travelled to Canada to meet with several health leaders and visit facilities to build on HG’s knowledge of the healthcare system and networks of top talent in the country.

We have a great deal of interest from Canadians wanting to live and work in Australia – both medical and career administrators as well as clinicians and we talk to people who have impressive experience and careers in their own context. However, its always about fit and transferability to our local context.

I mainly met with clinicians and medical administrators, who shared a resoundingly positive voice about their belief in the Canadian Healthcare system. They expressed a deep sense of pride and see it as an unrivalled pillar of Canadian national identity.

People enjoy sharing the story of their system architect who back in 1944 was the Premier of Saskatchewan. The story goes, that when Tommy Douglas was a boy, he almost lost his leg due to a bone infection because his parents couldn’t afford his medical treatment. When he rose to power, he went on to implement the single payer, universal health care system that became a model for the rest of the country.

Canada spends less per capita on health care than its neighbouring USA and performs better on a range of indictors and Canadian health leaders are continuing to look at how they can advance and improve the system whether that means greater integration between the acute and primary setting or looking to encourage increased patient empowerment.

It was evident that innovation and new technologies to improve health care is a key focus with more reliance on access to data and Electronic Medical Records will play an integral part in solving existing issues in the health system. With ever increasing costs in healthcare, technology will play a part in managing this increase through alternatives such as virtual care to provide online medical consultation which will improve access to health care for Canadians.

Canadians without question want to be more active members of their own health care and want digital solutions and it appears that the system is moving in that direction to allow for patient focused innovation in health care, patient engagement and empowerment and will continue to be a leader in the way in which health care is provided.