Tag Archives: William Pascal

Tugging on Superman’s Cape – Contrarian Views Applied to the Digital Health Agenda

I have teamed with my friend and mentor, William Pascal,  to write a series of articles challenging conventional wisdoms about the Canadian digital health agenda.  Here is the first article in the series which sets the stage for the remainder of the articles

“Time spent arguing is, oddly enough, almost never wasted.” ―Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Introduction

What if we do not need new funding for the digital agenda in Canada? What if we no longer need a Canada Health Infoway or similar bodies such as eHealth Ontario? What if we are less concerned about privacy and more concerned about delivering better care? What if the private sector manages all back office operations for the health sector? All these statements are contrary to conventional wisdom, but are they wrong?

What is conventional wisdom? It can be defined as ideas so accepted they go unquestioned. Think about the Wright brothers. If they had listened to conventional wisdom, they would never have even tried to build a flying machine and our world would be a very different place. Think about the impact on society today if Alexander Graham Bell had been discouraged and gave up when he was told that his invention of the telephone had no inherent value by Western Union.

Too often we accept what’s conventional thinking without trying to see what’s possible and available. The real problem with using conventional wisdom as a guide is that we will constantly be behind the curve, safe with the general masses but missing the opportunities to think independently and create something new or change an existing way of thinking. Ten years ago, who would have thought we’d be spending more money renting software than purchasing it?. Fifteen years ago, mobile devices were not viewed as a key enabler of care when we created an eHealth strategy for Canada.

New ideas or ways to address difficult issues almost always challenges conventional wisdom. Inspired by this reality, we have embarked on a quest to challenge, through a series of articles, some of the conventional wisdom that we believe underlies the approaches to the public policy thinking that is driving the digital agenda in Canada.

This paper, the first in our series of articles challenging Canadian digital health conventional wisdoms, provides a high level overview of the challenges facing the health care system, a description of the digital agenda in the healthcare sector, the status of this agenda in Canada, some observations on this journey, lessons to be drawn from experiences in Canada and Internationally and a suggested list of contrarian possibilities that draw into question conventional wisdom. Subsequent articles will explore these suggested different future states.

You can read the remainder of this paper here.

Mike

 

 

Qualitative Study of Canada’s Experience with Implementation of Electronic Health Information – Guest Blog Post by William Pascal

Mr. William (Bill) Pascal and I were interviewed as part of a qualitative study into Canada’s experience with implementation of electronic health information funded by the Commonwealth Fund and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  A report summarizing the result of this study was released today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.  Mr.  Pascal graciously agreed to author a guest post summarizing his thoughts on the key findings from the study.

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I read with interest the article in the most recent CMAJ on a Qualitative Study of Canada’s Experience with Implementation of Electronic Health Information. The study brings together the collective views of a broad cross- section of key leaders and influencers in the health care sector, all of whom have long experience in developing policies and or delivering care. I have to declare that I was one of these people.

The interpretation by the authors of this study point to many issues which need to be addressed if we are going to be successful as a country with helping to transform our health care system to better serve Canadians. Two observations I thought were particularly timely. The first about creating a provincial clinical information office is intriguing. We have not done a good job in linking Information technology to health care needs and this could help bridge this gap.

The second issue is about the lack of e-Health policies that will guide the implementation of information technologies to better address our pressing health issues in Canada. The development of these policies need to be undertaken now with the participation of all parties; providers, patients, vendors and governments. Some of these will be unique to jurisdictions while others will require national cooperation and dialogue. I thought the list of policy issues highlighted in the Conclusion section was fairly comprehensive. I would be interested in the viewpoints of others on whether this list is comprehensive or others need to be added.

William Pascal
Chief Technology Officer, Canadian Medical Association