eHealth Ontario in the News

One of the difficult lessons that I had to learn as a young engineer was to separate the “what” from the “how”.   To me, at that point in my life, every problem had a solution and I was just itching to develop that solution.  I learned, sometimes painfully, that there are often many different ways to solve a problem, some of them a better fit to the particular situation than others. 

As I ponder the recent news about untendered contracts at eHealth Ontario, I am reminded about the difference between the “what” and the “how”.  Putting in place IT systems to enable healthcare transformation is the “what”.  eHealth Ontario is a “how”.   Hiring contractors to fill short term staffing needs is a “how”.   Let’s not lose sight of “what” we are trying to accomplish in the debate about choices made regarding “how” we are doing so.

Mike

4 responses to “eHealth Ontario in the News

  1. The news itself did not surprise me, but the timing was very unfortunate…eHealth was supposed to be the eHealth Ontario coming out party. As far as I can see it does not appear that anyone in the organization actually broke any laws. The problem is that from a PR perspective the whole thing looks suspect, especially considering the current economic environment in Ontario.

    Sarah Kramer has proved her ability when she ran Cancer Care Ontario, and I always thought that she was a good choice to lead eHealth Ontario. The elephant in the room to me is will this PR problem turn public opinion against investing in eHealth. Joe Lunchpail is never going to dig around and get a true understanding of the value of eHealth to the system. They are going to be focused on how much money Sarah spent on office furniture…this is why the problem is so serious in my opinion.

    Mark

  2. Why didn’t the news surprise you? Because you knew what was happening already or because you don’t expect much different?

    So far the story doesn’t seem to have “legs”. Neither Ottawa Citizen (my local paper) nor the Globe and Mail seem to be running anything about the story. As well, the opposition seems to have let the matter go, at least for the moment. Perhaps they are simply regrouping for another attack.

    What this incident does highlight is the need for all organizations that spend public money to be completely transparent about the way they do so. I’m not about to second guess Ms. Kramer … I don’t work at eHealth Ontario and don’t see what she sees. I respectfully suggest, however, that Ms. Kramer and her senior team find ways to share with the public to share as much as they can about what they are dong and why they are doing it. While people might disagree, at least the discussions will be public and both sides of a question can make their views to taxpayers. In the end, it is eHealth Ontario’s responsibility to convince taxpayers that they are spending their money wisely.

    Mike

  3. The outcome of this story will be dependent on the the political breaking point for McGuinty. If this story continues to have legs all of next week, then he is going to start thinking about who to throw under the bus. If it dies down then he can wait for the auditor report in September.

    Time will tell I guess

    Mark

  4. Why do you think this story has got the media attention that it has? Is it a reflection of the current economic situation? Or, are there other factors at play?

    Mike

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