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Government & policy

Sarah Kramer appointed CEO of eHealth Ontario

TORONTO – Sarah Kramer (pictured), an executive with high-level experience in Canada’s healthcare IT sector, has been appointed to lead the new eHealth Ontario agency. The appointment was made by the Board of Directors of eHealth Ontario, the new agency created to harness information and technology to improve patient care in Ontario.

Ms. Kramer has served as Vice-President and Chief Information Officer with Cancer Care Ontario, as well as Lead for the Wait Time Information Management Strategy to reduce wait times in Ontario.

“Sarah Kramer is a practical, results-orientated healthcare leader with a public track record of achievements in multiple jurisdictions,” said Dr. Alan Hudson, Chair of eHealth Ontario. “Her leadership has advanced evidence-based decision making and patient safety, and I am confident she will continue that success with eHealth Ontario.”

Ms. Kramer’s appointment is effective immediately, with a start date of Nov. 3, 2008. She was scheduled to give her first public address as President and CEO of eHealth Ontario at the annual Ontario Hospital Association (OHA)conference in Toronto, the first week of November.

“I’m honoured and excited to take on this important leadership role with eHealth Ontario,” said Ms. Kramer. “This new agency will play a critical role in achieving the Ontario government’s overall health strategy of building a safer and sustainable healthcare system that leads to improved patient care.”

The key priorities of eHealth Ontario include: creating a Diabetes Registry that will ensure people with diabetes in the province are receiving the best possible care; establishing an e-prescribing system to eliminate hand-written prescriptions and reduce medication errors; and developing an e-health portal which will allow healthcare providers and patients to easily and securely access the health information they need to deliver and receive better care.

The agency will also oversee the development of a province-wide electronic health record system by 2015 that will be used to improve healthcare delivery, increase patient safety, reduce emergency room wait times and ultimately create a more effective healthcare system. eHealth Ontario will work with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario (IPC)to ensure the protection of personal health information.

Sarah Kramer’s Bio

Sarah Kramer is a leading senior healthcare executive who has served in high level positions for the Nova Scotia and Ontario governments and in healthcare organizations in Ontario. Ms. Kramer has a deep knowledge of healthcare systems management and planning, operations management, change management, and information management and technology.

She is known for her unwavering, passionate commitment to delivering practical, concrete results that improve the co-ordination of healthcare services, facilitate better collaboration among providers, and deliver better, safer healthcare to patients.

Prior to her appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer of eHealth Ontario, she served since 2004 as Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Cancer Care Ontario. In this role, Ms. Kramer focused on building provincial information tools, data stores and technology to improve provider and system performance, innovation and accountability – with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for Ontario’s cancer patients.

Additionally, Ms. Kramer led the development and implementation of the information infrastructure to support Ontario’s Wait Time Strategy, including the establishment of the province-wide e-health application – the Wait Times Information System (WTIS) - and the Provincial Client Registry.

The WTIS, an integral part of the province’s strategy to reduce wait times, is now being used by over 2,500 physicians and has contributed to improving access to care for over one million patients per year. The client registry contributes to the foundation for Ontario’s electronic health record.

Previously, Ms. Kramer served as the CIO for the Nova Scotia Department of Health. Under her leadership, Nova Scotia implemented a province-wide hospital-based electronic health record. She also played a leadership role in advancing Atlantic and national collaboration, public/private sector partnerships, and worked closely with Canada Health Infoway in the developmentof their inaugural business plan.

Prior to her Nova Scotia experience, Ms. Kramer held a number of senior positions in Ontario’s healthcare, government and private sectors. She was a senior advisor to the Secretary of Cabinet (Policies and Priorities) regarding the development and implementation of the government’s strategic policy framework, legislative strategy and agenda, annual budget and cross-government restructuring initiatives.

In addition, Ms. Kramer has worked for a private healthcare consulting company where she played a leadership role in a range of strategic and operational projects across Canada and the United States. Ms. Kramer graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in 1988. She has also been featured in CIO Magazine (March 2007) and is the recipient of the Leadership in the Field of Health Informatics Award from COACH(November 2006), Canada’s Health Informatics Association.

Her leadership success in reducing wait times in Ontario won her and her team at Cancer Care Ontario national recognition in 2007 when they were awarded the Gold Award for Innovative Management from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada(IPAC) and the prestigious Diamond Award at the Canadian Information Productivity Awards (CIPA).