eHealth week 2010 is in full swing in Barcelona, Spain this week. As with other conferences taking place over the past few months, I have been following this conference through Twitter, blog posts, and online media sites. I was interested to hear that Zoran Stancic, Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General Information Society and Media (DG INFSO) believes that “eHealth offers not only the possibility to increase efficiency and quality care, it can also be seen as a growth machine for Europe”:
I have long argued that Canada is not doing enough to leverage its eHealth investments to drive economic development. Much of Canada’s installed healthcare IT infrastructure in hospitals and regional health authorities is based on software from multinational and U.S. based companies. While some of these vendors do employ Canadians and the Ontario government made a significant investment in an Agfa R&D facility in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, there is no comprehensive and integrated national strategy for positioning Canada and Canadian organizations as world leaders in what is arguably one of the fastest growing IT segments.
What do you think? Should Canada take a more proactive position on developing Canadian eHealth solutions for our own use and for export? Can we “kill two birds with one stone” and use eHealth to address both the sustainability of our health system and create new, high value jobs? If so, which organizations (both inside and outside government) are best position to play an active role in promoting and implementing this agenda?