Monday’s grim news about declines in Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) got me thinking about the possible impact on healthcare spending in general and on healthare IT spending in particular. According to a 13 November 2008 news release from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), spending on healthcare was projected to grow to an estimated 10.7% of GDP. The same news release also notes that “this rate has climbed gradually, from 10.0% in 2002, to an estimated 10.6% last year” and that, at 10.7%, it is “the highest rate ever recorded“. Perhaps even more frightening, Glenda Yates, President and CEO of CIHI, is quoted as saying “Health care spending is expected to grow faster than Canada’s economy, outpacing inflation and population growth.”
Most provinces have noted for the past few years that even in a growing economy, year over year increases in healthcare spending were a significant concern and were looking at various ways to curb healthcare spending. Now that the economy is shrinking, how will governments across Canada respond? We have already seen announcements about possible cutbacks in services and even layoffs. Will healthcare IT spending be similarly impacted? Any thoughts?