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Government & policy

Ontario integrates eHealth under one agency

TORONTO – Ontario has appointed Dr. Alan Hudson (pictured) as the Chair of eHealth Ontario, a restructured agency responsible for all aspects of eHealth in Ontario, including creating an electronic health record for all Ontarians.

eHealth Ontario will bring together the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s eHealth program and the province’s Smart Systems for Health Agency (SSHA) under one banner.

Three key eHealth priorities have been identified for the next few years, including a Diabetes Registry, an eHealth Portal to centralize health information on an easily accessible web site, and ePrescribing, which will eliminate hand written prescriptions and reduce medication errors.

Dr. Hudson – who is leading the government’s efforts to reduce wait times in emergency rooms and for key procedures – will chair the Board of Directors for eHealth Ontario, which will have individuals from the broader health, business and information technology sectors.

The ultimate goal of the eHealth strategy is to create an electronic health record (EHR) for all Ontarians by 2015. An electronic health record will provide patients and providers with the ability to access, share and use health information. It will improve healthcare delivery, increase patient safety, reduce ER wait times and create a more effective healthcare system.

“eHealth Ontario will enable us to transform Ontario’s healthcare system as we know it,” said David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.” With its broad mandate, eHealth Ontario will deliver a comprehensive, patient-focused, secure and private electronic system that will improve the way patients receive care.”

“This is an exciting time for eHealth in Ontario,” said Dr. Alan Hudson, Board Chair for eHealth Ontario. “Combining thought leaders from the Ministry and Long-Term Care and the broader health sector means we now have the expertise to make electronic health records a reality for the people of Ontario.”

eHealth Ontario is mandated to work with the Office of the Chief Information and Privacy Officer, Ministry of Government Services, to ensure that the protection of personal health information.

The Ontario government created SSHA in 2003 to improve patient care through a variety of initiatives, including network hosting and secure e-mail. The agency has created the foundation for many of the eHealth activities under way today.

Also named as board members are J. David Livingston, President and CEO of Infrastructure Ontario; Matthew Anderson, CEO of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network; Heather Sherrard, vice-president of clinical services at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute; and Ken Deane, Assistant Deputy Minister, Health System Accountability and Performance Division, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Dr. Alan Hudson, Board Chair
Dr. Alan Hudson is lead, Access to Services/Wait Times for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. As president and CEO of Cancer Care Ontario, Dr. Hudson led the integration of 11 cancer centres with their host hospitals. Dr. Hudson is a former president and CEO of Toronto’s University Health Network. During that time, he led the integration of Princess Margaret Hospital with the Toronto Hospital, creating the University Health Network. Dr. Hudson also served as McCutcheon chair and surgeon-in-chief at Toronto Hospital from 1989-1991. From 1970 to 1989, he was a leading neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, where he co-founded a laboratory which garnered an international reputation for innovation in neurosurgery research.

J. David Livingston, Board Member
As President and Chief Executive Officer of Infrastructure Ontario, J. David Livingston oversees the crown corporation responsible for executing large-scale public infrastructure projects for the Ontario government. Livingston has 30 years of financial industry experience, where he ultimately rose to executive vice-president of corporate development at TD Bank Financial Group. At Infrastructure Ontario he has created a team of private and public experts that use innovative tools to deliver complex projects on time and on budget. Livingston obtained his B.Sc. from the University of Western Ontario in 1973 and his MBA from Queen’s University in 1976. He is a director of Ovarian Cancer Canada and The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.

Matthew Anderson, Board Member
Matthew Anderson was appointed CEO of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network in the spring of 2008. Prior to his appointment, he led the development of Toronto Central LHIN’s eHealth Strategy. Anderson was formerly vice-president and chief information officer of the University Health Network. He has been recognized nationally as an exceptional Canadian leader who has made an outstanding difference in the advancement of eHealth. He also previously served as chief information officer of the North York Community Care Access Centre, St. John’s Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto Community Care Access Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network and West Park Healthcare Centre.

Heather Sherrard, Board Member
Heather Sherrard is vice-president of clinical services at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute where she is responsible for all aspects of care by clinical staff and operating budgets of $40 million. Sherrard has held a variety of clinical and administrative positions in the acute care hospital sector, most of which have been in the area of cardiovascular care. She has been involved with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute since 1998 first as a nursing coordinator, and then the director of nursing. Sherrard holds two joint appointments with the University of Ottawa and is actively involved in the education of Masters students in Nursing and Health Administration. She is a member of the editorial board of the Canadian Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. She has worked on a number of provincial committees associated with the care of cardiac patients. She also provides consulting services to other provinces in the area of cardiac health services.

Ken Deane, Board Member
Ken Deane is Assistant Deputy Minister of the Health System Accountability and Performance Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Prior to this, he was chief operating officer of the London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Healthcare in London, Ontario. Deane has also served as president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, president and CEO of Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor, vice-president of finance and chief financial officer of Hamilton Health Sciences Centre, and executive vice-president and chief financial officer of Grand River Hospital in Kitchener. He has served on various boards, most recently on the board of directors of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, where he was the chair of the human resources and compensation committee.