ehealth election madness

Here in Ontario, we’re in the midst of a provincial election. Voting day is October 10, 2007 and I suspect that the level of attacks will increase as voting day approaches.

I’m not writing about political parties, but I am somewhat surprised with some of the debate regarding ehealth. The former government (Ontario Liberal Party led by Dalton McGuinty) has an election promise regarding the development of electronic health records and other health care related issues in their platform piece titled “Power to Patients”.

Create an electronic health record by 2015 and give Ontarians control over the information contained in it

What was interesting, however, was the response by one of the parties titled “Dalton McGuinty’s three ‘e’ approach to e-health”. They criticize McGuinty’s e-health strategy for being evasive, expensive, and election oriented for promising an electronic health record by 2015.

In all honesty, I’m not sure that I can disagree with any of the statements made in the press piece. On the other hand, having been on the “inside” during my brief stint on the Ontario Hospital eHealth Council, I know that things aren’t as easy as they appear. 2015 is far enough away that achieving a working electronic health record should be achievable. People compare Ontario’s progress with Alberta’s, but we have to understand that Alberta is unique (I briefly explained some of that in a previous post).

In any case, what was interesting is that when I searched the other major political parties’ websites, I couldn’t find any mention of a strategy or promise regarding e-health or electronic health records. Yup, the incumbent government hasn’t been perfect, but it would seem that they at least have a plan for e-health in Ontario, which seems more than what the other candidates seem to have. But then again, this could all be hype because of the election.



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