Ottawa Citizen reports on HIT progress at The Ottawa Hospital

After months of what seemed to be nothing but negative articles about eHealth, I was pleased to read Vito Pilieci’s article this past Sunday.   In his front page story, Vito highlighted the recent accomplishments of The Ottawa Hospital’s IT team led by their “new” CIO, Dale Potter.   Several aspects of this story are worth noting:

  • It is one of the first major eHealth stories in quite some time that has focused on the positive benefits that can be derived by applying IT to health care processes.
  • The projects mentioned in the article are all local to the hospital and were not, to the best of my knowledge, part of a larger provincial or Infoway funded project.  As I have argued in past blog posts, health care is a complex ecosystem with each organization having its own agenda and priorities.   The projects highlighted in the Ottawa Citizen clearly show that in addition to provincial projects such as a diabetes registry there are also a myriad of smaller yet equally important regional and local opportunities to apply IT.
  • Dale Potter brings fresh insights and different perspectives acquired through his work in other industries.  While I don’t want to appear to say that all good ideas come from outside the health system, I do believe that there are lessons learned in other industries that can be applied to the health sector and we should find ways to transfer this knowledge.

A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to spend a little time chatting with Dale Potter and heard additional stories about how his fresh thinking is finding new opportunities to apply  IT to the delivery of health services.  I was particularly struck by the story behind the iPad initiative described in the Ottawa Citizen story.  Seems that Mr. Potter, in getting to know his “clients”, noted that many physicians were using iPhones.   He realized that their enthusiasm for this device presented a unique opportunity to garner physician engagement and quickly embarked on an ambitious program to put clinical information in their hands.   I was struck by both his desire to understand what his “clients” need and his passion for getting on with a good idea.

Mike

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