Earlier this week the Ontario Liberal Party hosted an on-line text chat with the Minister of Health and Long Term Care, the Honourable Deb Matthews. The session was moderated, with the audience posing questions to a facilitator who selected the questions for the minister to answer.
I posed a number of questions related to the use of health IT, the future of eHealth Ontario, and the Minister’s thoughts on LHINs. Of the various questions that I posed, the moderator selected my question about eHealth Ontario. I asked the Minister about whether eHealth Ontario would continue to exist under a Liberal government. Minister Matthews replied:
“Anyone who works in health care knows that we need to continue to transform it unless we want to move to two-tier health care, which Ontario Libs certainly don’t!! A vital part of that transformation is moving forward with eHealth. We’ve now got about half of Ontarians with EHRs – shutting down eHealth would be just dumb!”
As the minister did not directly refer to eHealth Ontario, it is not clear whether she was stating a commitment to the agency or to continued investment in eHealth. Perhaps “eHealth” was intended as short form of “eHealth Ontario” or maybe she was being purposely vague. Whatever the case, I am pleased to see the Minister recognize the role that health IT can play in transforming our healthcare system.