Accessing CDAP: Grants to Help Health Clinics Digitize

Omar Visram
Accessing CDAP: Grants to Help Health Clinics Digitize

This is a guest post by our friends at Cue North.


The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) is a ground-breaking initiative aimed at driving digital transformation across various sectors in Canada, including healthcare. With a focus on advancing digitization, CDAP offers invaluable support and resources to businesses, empowering them to embrace digital technologies and thrive in the digital age.

In the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, digital adoption has become essential for healthcare clinics to remain competitive and provide exceptional patient care. Embracing digital technologies not only streamlines operations, but enhances patient experiences, enables better data management, and improves overall clinic performance.

In this blog post, we will delve into the Canada Digital Adoption Program and explore how healthcare clinics can leverage its support to drive digital transformation. We'll discuss what CDAP is, why healthcare clinics should leverage the program to drive their digital adoption, and share how to get started.

What is the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP)?

CDAP is an initiative spearheaded by the Canadian government to accelerate the digitalization of Canadian businesses. Its primary objectives are to foster innovation, enhance digital literacy, and provide resources and funding to businesses looking to adopt digital technologies.

Digital transformation drives economic growth and competitiveness. Through CDAP, the government is committed to supporting businesses across various sectors, including healthcare, in their digital transformation journey.

CDAP offers a range of benefits for businesses, including:

  1. Financial support
    1. $15,000 grant to develop a digital adoption plan
    2. Up to $100K interest-free loan
    3. $7,300 wage subsidy
    4. $2,400 to improve your ecommerce (for clinics, this means online booking for appointments or an online shop for products) and online presence
  2. Access to expert guidance for ecommerce and technology planning.
  3. Access to support for hiring resources to implement your digital adoption plan.

The above benefits are offered to businesses with annual revenue over $500,000.

For businesses under this threshold, you can still access an ecommerce expert and $2,400 to improve your ecommerce.

For healthcare clinics, these resources can pave the way for improved patient care, streamlined processes, and enhanced patient engagement.

How can Clinics leverage CDAP to Drive Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has the power to optimize various aspects of their operations. From electronic health records (EHR) management to telemedicine solutions, digital technologies can lead to increased efficiency, better data security, and improved communication among healthcare providers.

But it’s hard to know where to start.

That’s where CDAP comes in - together with a digital advisor, you will develop a digital adoption plan that helps you define how technology can improve your clinic.

Here are some of the ways forward-thinking healthcare clinics are leveraging technology to improve their business.

Streamlining operations

Here are specific examples of how technology can streamline operations in health clinics:

  1. Electronic Health Records (EHR) Management: EHR, electronic medical records (EMR) and practice management systems are considered the same types of solutions; these solutions digitize patient records, treatment plans, and medical history, eliminating the need for paper-based files. Clinic staff can easily access and update patient information in real-time, leading to better coordination and continuity of care. For instance, a physiotherapy clinic can utilize their EHR to track patients' treatment progress, record exercises, and share relevant information with referring physicians. These features are front and centre in practice management software, such as JaneApp, and Juvonno, built for allied health practitioners. Similarly, dental clinics can use dental practice software like Tracker or ClearDent to maintain comprehensive patient dental histories and treatment plans.
  2. Employee Scheduling: Some (not all) HR software provides an intuitive and user-friendly platform to create and manage employee schedules efficiently. Clinic administrators can assign shifts based on employee availability, qualifications, and preferences. Automated scheduling features consider factors like patient demand and staff workload, ensuring optimal staffing levels at all times. For example, a dental clinic can use HR software to create a weekly schedule for dental assistants, hygienists, and receptionists. The software takes into account their work preferences and certifications, ensuring the right staff members are assigned to various tasks throughout the week. If your EMR or HR software doesn’t include this feature, consider another tool like Deputy.
  3. Time and Attendance Tracking: Employee time and attendance can be accurately tracked through various methods such as mobile apps, web-based clock-ins or biometric devices. This automated tracking eliminates the need for manual time cards and minimizes time theft or inaccuracies. By streamlining the attendance process, clinic administrators can focus on more critical tasks and avoid potential disputes related to working hours. For example, a physiotherapy clinic can implement an HR software with a mobile app for staff to clock in and out. Employees can easily record their working hours using their smartphones, and the system automatically calculates total hours worked, including overtime if applicable.
  4. Payroll Management: HR software integrates seamlessly with payroll systems, such as Payworks, simplifying the payroll process for the clinic. The software automatically calculates employee wages based on hours worked, overtime, and any applicable deductions. With direct integration, payroll data is accurate, reducing the risk of payroll errors and ensuring that employees are compensated correctly and on time. For example, the HR software used in the healthcare clinic calculates employees' salaries, including additional pay for night shifts or overtime. Payroll administrators can review the data and then process payroll with confidence, knowing that the calculations are accurate. Learn about payroll and other modern accounting tools for health clinics.
  5. Purchasing and Supplies Management: Transitioning from manual processes, such as paper-based systems or phone calls, to digitized inventory management using Excel, a database/spreadsheet tool like Airtable, or other specialized software can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of supply and purchase management in healthcare clinics. The key advantages of making this transition are reducing the risk of stockouts or overstocking, improving the ability for multiple people to be involved in requesting supplies or ordering, and better reporting and analysis of purchases.

Enhancing patient experiences

  1. Appointment Scheduling and Reminders: Online appointment booking systems empower patients to schedule appointments conveniently, reducing the burden on clinic staff and minimizing phone call traffic. Ideally, these are integrated with your EHR or practice management software. Automated appointment reminders via email or SMS can reduce no-shows and help clinics optimize their schedules. This technology benefits clinics - from physiotherapy and dental to optometry and mental health clinics - by ensuring smooth patient flow and maximizing the utilization of available time slots.
  2. Intake Forms Digitizing intake forms and integrating them with a clinic's EMR can make it easy for patients and streamline your admin processes. Often, we see PDF forms on a clinic’s website and patients are directed to a page on their site to download those forms. Other times, we see clinics ask patients to fill in intake forms when they arrive. That means they are fiddling with pen and paper while they sit in the waiting area, and your reception must manually input their data into your system. By using digital intake forms (PIPEDA-compliant Microsoft Forms or PDF uploaded to a secure portal like SecureDocs), patients can conveniently complete and submit necessary information online before their appointments, reducing waiting times and paperwork during clinic visits. The best solution is to use intake forms integrated with your EMR - that way, patient data is seamlessly and securely transferred into the patient's electronic health record, promoting accurate and up-to-date information for your clinic team.
  3. Patient Feedback and Satisfaction Surveys: Technology can facilitate the collection of patient feedback and satisfaction surveys, enabling clinics to gather valuable insights about the patient experience. This feedback helps clinics identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to enhance patient satisfaction. Look for this feature in your EMR, so that automated emails can be sent to patients following their appointments for feedback while it’s still fresh in their minds. For engaging patients, some dentists may use software like RecallMax (assuming this functionality isn’t part of their practice management software) which integrates with many popular dental software.
  4. Telehealth and Virtual Consultations: Telehealth services enable patients to access healthcare remotely, eliminating the need for in-person visits for certain cases. Virtual consultations provide convenience and accessibility, particularly for patients with mobility challenges or residing in remote areas. Telehealth also facilitates follow-up visits, post-operative care, and chronic disease management, enhancing patient engagement and continuity of care. For clinics using Juvonno as their EMR, telehealth is built in and integrated.
  5. Digital Patient Portals: Patient portals offer a secure platform for patients to access their medical records, test results, and treatment plans. Patients can communicate with healthcare providers, schedule appointments, and request prescription refills. Patient portals are a feature in many EMRs. By empowering patients to take an active role in their healthcare journey, patient portals foster better engagement and patient-provider collaboration.

Better data management

  1. Secure EMR: Adopting an EMR system allows clinics to store and manage patient data securely in a centralized digital platform. A good EMR has advanced encryption and access controls, ensuring that patient information is protected from unauthorized access. Clinics can define role-based permissions, restricting access to specific patient data to relevant healthcare providers only. When evaluating options for your EMR, ensure they are in compliance with global security and performance standards like PIPEDA and HIPAA, user authentication and multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  2. Compliance with Data Protection Regulations: Technology can assist clinics in maintaining compliance with data protection regulations such as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Many modern technology solutions offer built-in features to ensure adherence to regulations, reducing the risk of non-compliance and potential fines.
  3. Digital Document Management: By digitizing employee records and sensitive documents, clinics can securely manage employee information. Digital document management systems provide secure access, version control, and audit trails for document changes, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations.
  4. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Role-Based Access Control restricts employee access to patient data and employee information based on their job roles and responsibilities. This approach ensures that staff members can only access the data necessary for their specific tasks, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches. Access controls can be defined in your EMR and content management system - whether you use OneDrive or Google Drive.

Through CDAP and the process of developing a digital adoption plan, you will learn which technology makes the most sense for your business and how you can implement them using a roadmap as your guide.

Navigating the CDAP application process might seem daunting, but it is a worthwhile endeavour for healthcare clinics looking to embrace digital transformation.

There are two parts to this program: Boost Your Business Technology and Grow Your Business Online.

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the CDAP offerings and eligibility requirements.

Use this grant assessment tool to find out which parts of the program you qualify for.

Keep in mind that any business who qualifies for Boost Your Business Technology (those with revenue > $500,000) can also apply for Grow Your Business Online.

To Wrap Up

The Canada Digital Adoption Program offers healthcare clinics an incredible opportunity to enhance their digital capabilities and, ultimately, improve their capacity to deliver quality patient care.

In today's digital age, embracing digital transformation is table stakes for healthcare clinics to thrive. By tapping into the Canada Digital Adoption Program, clinic owners can access the support and resources needed to drive digital adoption and unlock the potential of their clinics.

If you're a healthcare clinic owner seeking to improve patient care, streamline operations, and stay ahead in the digital era, don't miss this opportunity. Learn more from our team at Cue North. We are a registered digital advisor for CDAP and can guide you in the application process and help you develop your digital adoption plan. Book a complimentary call today to get started.

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We thoroughly research and test the apps we include in our regular workflow for Client bookkeeping services. After deciding on criteria for evaluating the software and then researching the app itself, we tested the app, noting its strengths and weaknesses. We then work with the app for at least a few weeks before deciding whether to recommend it to our readers. We use the software as it was designed for its intended tasks. For a detailed walk-through of how we select and evaluate software, please see the details of our process.

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