Searching for the next eHealth Ontario CEO

eHealth Ontario has issued an RFP for the “services of an Executive Search firm … in order to conduct an executive recruitment search for the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for eHealth Ontario”. This RFP closes tomorrow, September 15th. According to the RFP:

The Chief Executive Officer will lead eHealth Ontario in its strategic mandate to deliver a comprehensive, patient focused secure and private electronic system that will improve the way patients receive care. The  organization is expected to play a leading role in the greater context of the health care system in Ontario to harness information technology and innovation to improve patient care and safety in support of the government’s health care strategy.

Key attributes of the new CEO include, according to the RFP:

This position demands a leader who is knowledgeable in leading large, complex IT systems and has a  proven track record in both public and private sectors. The President and CEO will have demonstrated experience in leading large organizations and leveraging the potential of its people and resources. He/she will have a strong relationship and partner engagement focus and will have experience in designing collaborative engagement frameworks with the clinician and related health care communities. The CEO will have a bias for action, and decision making while at the same time ensuring value for money for the province. A determined focus on accountability and delivering projects on time and on budget will be the hallmark of the experience of the successful candidate.

What are your thoughts regarding the ideal candidate for the CEO’s position?  Are there elements of the core skills and experience missing from the eHealth Ontario RFP?  Also, do you have any thoughts in mind regarding an appropriate candidate for this job?


3 responses to “Searching for the next eHealth Ontario CEO

  1. I don’t envy the people who have to write these RFPs. I find it difficult to have to read this mind numbing stuff. Reminds me of the mission statements from HR that were all the rage in the mid-90’s. “Enabling our ability to enable” and such.

    All that aside, I think the key pieces left unsaid (and maybe with good reason) are:

    1) The ability to communicate effectively with the general public. The successful candidate must be able to translate the value of eHealth investment into language that is understood outside of the eHealth industry. Sounds simple but I believe would be hugely difficult.

    2) Be able to navigate the MOH healthcare bureaucracy. This requires that the candidate is well know by this group. Goodness knows they are going to be calling all the shots for the first year or so. Just look at what happened to Sarah and her predecessor Bill Albino. Neither one of them was an “insider” with the right connections to the bureaucrats. I hate to compare the two ex-CEOs because of their radically situations, but neither one was helped all that much by the MOH folks…deserved or not.

    I really liked your post Mike, especially your challenge to identify someone with the right qualifications to get the job. I think the problem is that the “best” candidates would not touch the job with a 10 foot pole. Any senior healthcare person would be instantly attacked by the media. More importantly I would like to point out the lack of upside…what does the candidate
    get out of “fixing” eHealth? I keep wracking my brain for the upside. Can someone please point out the upside of taking the job (other than a steady paycheque and excellent severance terms)?

    Does this leave Ontario with a B list candidate who just needs the job? I hope not.


  2. A final thought that I should have included in my previous comment. Maybe we should take a page from our US cousins.

    If Dennis Quaid can stump for EMRs in the US then maybe we need to get on the phone to a Canadian celebrity. Anyone have the daytime number for Ann Murray?


  3. Personally, I think that the eHealth Ontario challenge is one that, were I qualified for the job, I’d love to take on. There is no doubt in my mind that IT can make a significant contribution to a sustainable healthcare system in Ontario. Further, I believe that eHealth Ontario can, by working WITH the health sector and the public, create a vision that everyone shares and develop a plan to achieve this vision in which everyone participates. Key to this success, in my view, will be acting in a collaborative manner to harness the passion and skills of people across the province.

    Given my view on eHealth Ontario’s role and potential positive contribution, I think that it will be critical to find someone who

    – believes passionately in the power of IT to support healthcare transformation
    – is truly collaborative in nature
    – is well spoken and willing to take advantage of
    available vehicle to promote eHealth (the concept, not the agency)


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