After 20 years of talking about consumerism in healthcare it’s easy to loose site of progress made and the benefits realized.

I spoke with an executive of Infoway yesterday and realized that Canada and the US are in much the same spot.

EHRs have for the most part have been purchased and implemented across the US and Canada. It’s taken longer than most of us in the industry expected. There have been a lot of mistakes made, lessons learned and yes – successes!

One thing that I really enjoyed is reading are the benefit studies done in Canada that highlight how the EHRs and other solutions have reduced the number of redundant tests, negative drug interactions, ER visits and admits.

Professionals in both countries are tasked with doing more with less. However, both countries are still struggling to get the financial incentives right to improve access and outcomes.

The US is shifting to more risk based models to reduce over utilization and improve outcomes. While in Canada, they need incentives to increase thru put and reduce the waiting times for non-emergent services.

The engaged consumer is the answer to both challenges. The problem is the word consumer doesn’t resonate with Americans or Canadians in the context of healthcare.