Six in Ten Canadians Say they are Excited About the Impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Have on Health Care

While Canadians Support Investments in these Advancements, they Don’t Want it to Come at the Expense of Fewer Health Care Workers (77%)

The author(s)
  • Mike Colledge President, Ipsos Public Affairs Canada
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Toronto, Ontario, August 14, 2018 — Technology is having an impact on all aspects of Canadians’ lives, changing the way we shop, work and commute. Accessing government services such as health care is also being re-shaped by technology and artificial intelligence. These developments hold the potential to revolutionize the delivery of health care in Canada:

  • Virtual care – the use of electronic means to reduce or replace face-to-face interaction;
  • Big data – the ability to artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze large volumes of different types of data
  • Technological developments such as robotics, 3D printing, augmented reality, nanotechnology, the Internet of Things (connected devices) and health apps that run applications on smartphones.

A recent study by Ipsos on behalf of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) shows that Canadians embrace these changes and the potential they hold for our health care. Six in 10 Canadians say they are excited about the impact AI will have on health care (57%), with young adults (61% 18-34 vs. 55% 35-54, 57% 55+), men (61% vs. 53% women) and those with a university education being the most excited (63% vs. 55% high school). In line with this excitement, Canadians believe tech (75%) and AI (69%) could help solve issues affecting our health care system such as access to care, dealing with chronic diseases and helping seniors stay at home longer.

Canadians are also supportive of integrating more technology into their personal health care. Seven in 10 agree that if they incorporate more technology into their personal health care they will be able to prevent some illnesses because they will be identified and treated early (70%) and 6 in 10 believe they will get better care from their physician (58%).

While Canadians embrace more tech and AI in the health system, and support investments in these areas, they do not want to see these investments come at the expense of fewer doctors and nurses (77%). There are also some concerns that privacy and ethics haven’t been fully thought out when it comes to the implementation of AI in health care (69%) and that their health data could be used for purposes other than intended, such as evaluation for health insurance or determining if they get a job (68%).

While use of virtual health visits is low, interest is high.

Just under 1 in 10 Canadians (8%) say they have had a virtual visit/consultation with a physician (contacting a physician through a smartphone, table or computer). This low usage may be a result of availability, rather than lack of interest. This is higher among Millennials (18-34 15% vs. 7% 35-54, 4% 55+), parents of children under 18 (12% vs. 7% no children under 18) and in BC (12%) and Ontario (10%) compared to the rest of Canada (5%). When asked if they would choose virtual health visits if the option was available, 7 in 10 say they would take advantage of this option (69%), with nearly 4 in 10 saying they would do so for more than half of their health visits (37%). Those who’ve already had a virtual visit (64% vs. 35% haven’t), Millennials (47% vs. 38% 35-54, 31% 55+) and heavier users of the health system (46% 11+ visits per year vs. 39% 6-10 visits, 37% 2-5, 33% 1 or fewer) are all more likely to say they’d use virtual visits for all or more than half of their health visits.

Canadians believe virtual health visits would lead to more timely care (66%), more convenient care (63%) and ultimately better overall health care (51%). However, acceptance of virtual health visits doesn’t come without reservations, and when it comes to concerns, more are concerned with a loss of human touch and compassion (67%) and accuracy of diagnosis (64%) than about privacy of personal health information (54%).

Over half of Canadians say they would use a continuous health monitoring device (56%), with 2 in 10 very likely (21%).

Respondents were presented with a theoretical mobile device that would measure your health status on a continuous basis – meaning 24 hours/7 days per week. It would measure all your key vitals, detect the presence of toxins in your environment and create a personal warning system for you when things are out of the normal range. Half of Canadians say they would be likely to use this device (56%), with Millennials (67% vs. 55% 35-54, 49% 55+), parents of children under 18 (63% vs. 54% no children under 18) and those with a university education (61% vs. 52% high school or less) being the most likely to use.

Canadians say they are more likely to use a health monitoring device if recommended by doctor (76%) or connected to a group of physicians (68%), rather than to an AI program (52%). Canadians are also more likely to use this device if it was paid for by the health system (81%) and if they were paid $1000 a year to share their health data (72%).

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 16 and May 18, 2018 on behalf of The Canadian Medical Association. For this survey, a sample of 2,003 was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.
The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Mike Colledge
President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 613 688-8971
[email protected]

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of Canadian American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.
Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs is the polling partner for Global News. Internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.
With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.
Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.
Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,782.7 million in 2016.

The author(s)
  • Mike Colledge President, Ipsos Public Affairs Canada