Telemedicine and telehealth in Canada: forty years of change in the use of information and communications technologies in a publicly administered health care system

Telemed J. 1998 Fall;4(3):199-205. doi: 10.1089/tmj.1.1998.4.199.


The Canadian climate and geography are particularly well suited to the adoption of communications technologies for long-distance medical care and education. Canada has a long history of use of telemedicine applications, and in recent years, the number and variety of telehealth activities in Canada have increased dramatically. Using information gathered for a competitive framework study of the telehealth industry in Canada, this article documents these changes. The trends observed have been encouraged by the development of provincial and national infrastructure for the health information highway, changes in the health care system, increased technological capacity and speed, and government intervention and assistance. The pace of growth is apparent in the increases in the number of projects, the number of companies offering telehealth products and services, the adoption by public organizations of telehealth technologies for a wider range of applications, and the increasing amount of research being undertaken. The article concludes with comments on the role of government intervention in fostering these developments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration
  • Telemedicine / trends*