Need for Better eHealth Drives M&A in Canada


Telehealth in Canada is fueling M&A investments in technology solutions that best support virtual healthcare delivery. As EHRs are replaced, record retention requirements vary greatly throughout the ten provinces and three territories (e.g., five years from the last date of entry in Quebec to 16 years from the last date of entry in British Columbia). As new solutions are on-boarded, legacy records need a secure, accessible and compliant long-term home. That’s where the active archive, HealthData Archiver®, fits in.


The stable healthcare industry in Canada is gaining momentum in M&A activity. There are many factors behind this growth, including the need to modernize healthcare delivery and a continued demand for high-tech solutions — especially those that support virtual care visits.

While COVID-19 highlighted the need for increased investment in telehealth, which is predicted to become a $175 billion global market by 2026, access to healthcare in Canada is known for extremely long wait times partly due to a chronic shortage of physicians and compounded by the country’s geography.

Health Spending Growing Faster than Rest of the Economy

Canada’s publicly-funded universal healthcare system ranks 12th in health spending, ahead of France, the UK, Australia, Japan and other larger countries; and it has grown at a faster rate than the general economy. Recently, the federal government in Canada designated $13.4 million to a few Toronto-based telehealth companies and an “innovation hub” in the industry.

EHR System Replacement is a Natural Part of Health Information Evolution

About 85 percent of family doctors are using EMRs, but systems are not connected and few can share patient clinical summaries or laboratory and diagnostic test results. This may result in EHR system replacements to better meet the healthcare provider’s evolving needs. Currently the top EHR vendors in Canada — in order — are MEDITECH, Epic, Cerner, and Allscripts. Epic is making strides in terms of market share growth and in customer satisfaction.

As EHR systems are upgraded and replaced, often there is a need to retain access to the health and business records for many years following a system replacement. As such, a record retention strategy and active archive plan is needed.

There are differences in retention requirements among Canada’s 10 provinces and 3 territories. In general, medical record retention in Canada is 10 years from the date of last entry or 10 years from when the patient reaches the age of majority or until the physician ceases to practice if some conditions are met. Overall, experts recommend retaining medical records in Canada for a minimum of 15 years.

The data management experts at Harmony Healthcare IT deliver data where it is needed

Harmony Healthcare IT works with healthcare teams in Canada to map out and perform extraction, migration, conversion and long-term data storage strategies based on retention guidelines and the organization’s needs. It’s important that health data is available and actionable in either the go-forward EHR or the active archive. The Harmony Healthcare IT team can customize features to meet specific Canadian deployment needs, should that be that the archive support both French and English languages or other unique storage or data center and security features.

Upgrading an EHR should include a legacy data strategy that offers clinicians a single sign-on to maintain ongoing access to the complete patient record in Canada.

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Nov 11 2021

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