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.