Government & policy
Conference Board report emphasizes eHealth
OTTAWA – Canada lags behind other
countries in using information and communications technologies (ICT) in
the health system, according to a Conference Board of Canada report that
provides four steps to a more collaborative approach to implementing ICT.
“The integration and use of information and communications technologies
in Canada’s health systems has been hampered by a number of challenges.
Despite the potential of ICT to improve health outcomes, enhance system
performance, and control and reduce costs for health outcomes, progress
has been slow and Canada lags behind its international peers,” said
Diana MacKay, Director, Education and Health.
“The slow progress can be attributed to a variety of factors. These
include lack of cooperation among jurisdictions and organizations,
concerns about privacy and security, and perceptions of financial risks
and uncertain health and financial outcomes. The concerns are
legitimate, but they do not constitute immovable barriers to
An analysis of the most significant barriers reveals that a
collaborative leadership approach to health system improvement and
innovation is urgently needed in Canada.
The publication, A Call for Collaborative Leadership: Implementing
Information and Communications Technologies in Canadian Health Systems,
identifies four specific actions that health organizations can take.
• Appoint a champion from the C-suite (CEO, CFO, CIO) who is required
and empowered to collaborate with other leaders on cross-jurisdictional
and cross-organizational ICT initiatives.
• Allocate between 4% and 5% percent of budgets in healthcare
organizations to ICT.
• Convene a national coalition of collaborative leaders who will commit
to the principle of linking with other jurisdictions.
• Create a two-tier governance structure to facilitate collaborative
leadership and guide ICT-related decision-making, implementation,
integration and management.
• The upper tier should consist of a national council on health system
ICT that meets regularly to discuss and make decisions on ICT
opportunities, priorities, challenges, and general strategies.
• The lower tier should consist of ICT implementation and management
committees (created as necessary by the national council) for specific
Funding for this report came from the Centre for Health System Design
and Management, which brings together senior decision-makers from across
Canada and focuses on seeking evidence of what works in healthcare, and
how to implement it, despite Canada’s fragmented approach to health
Posted October 21, 2010