Monday, 10 June 2013

eHealth 2013 impressions: A thousand points of light

I've been attending Canada's eHealth conference for about 5 years now.  This year felt different from previous years.

In previous years, there was a strong presence of large national and provincial initiatives.  This year, it felt more like a "thousand points of light".  Major jurisdictional initiatives have shrunk out of the limelight.  We saw terrific presentations from grass roots pilots at various healthcare organizations across the country, but gone were the ambitious blueprints and grand proclamations of EHR 2015.

A big part of this has got to be the current eHealth Ontario crisis.  Ontario is the largest Healthcare market in Canada by far, but it feels like the wheels have fallen off the eHealth Ontario bus.  Greg Reed announced three priorities when he took the helm in 2010: Diabetes Registry, Medication Management, and OLIS.  The first two projects have been cancelled, and we've seen an unprecedented exodus of top leadership from that organization this spring.

Moving away from ambitious provincial initiatives back to grass-roots projects is mostly a good thing.  Though I continue to feel that every jurisdiction needs, at a minimum, a single patient, provider, and location registry to have any hope of ever achieving shared electronic health records.  Why do we still not have these in Ontario?

The main question I kept asking myself at this conference was: "Wow, what this surgeon accomplished in their hospital pilot was fantastic!  How do we roll her solution out to everyone else?"  That, I think, is the biggest gap in our current eHealth ecosystem.  Every year we should pick the top three best eHealth pilots, scale those systems up, and roll them out to everyone.  We need a market for innovation in Healthcare.

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