One of the topics that I repeatedly hear discussed at just about any gathering related to eHealth in Canada is leadership. There appears to be a consensus that we lack effective leadership in driving the eHealth leadership. At the provincial level I know that there are some very capable people moving their piece of the eHealth agenda forward. Yet, for some reason, there is a persistent perception that we lack effective leadership.
A similar situation with regard to lack of national eHealth leadership seems to exist in Australia. With the very recent resignation of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, there are calls for the new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to address this situation. Proponents of national eHealth leadership in Australia have quoted Dr. Sarah Muttit, formerly with Canada Health Infoway, and now CIO at the Singapore Ministry of Health. Dr. Muttit told a an audience at CeBIT:
“Clearly need someone at the helm to influence the decisions … and try to do master IT planning.”
Like Australia, which has the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), Canada has Canada Health Infoway. Though their mandates are somewhat different, both bodies are trying to drive a national approach to eHealth and electronic health records. Neither organization has a mandate for developing and driving a national eHealth policy. It will be interesting to see whether the change in government in Australia leads to a change either the mandate for NEHTA or the creation of a new entity to drive national eHealth policies, plans, and priorities.