Ontario auditor general Jim McCarter's long-awaited report on the province's electronic health records initiative landed today, and given the uproar since the spring over untendered contracts, huge bonuses and lack of oversight, the $1-billion price tag attached to the still-incomplete megaproject came as a surprise to few. Health Minister David Caplan is the latest casualty of the eHealth Ontario (née Smart Systems for Health Agency) fiasco, resigning on the eve of the report's release.
Still, there were specifics that were eye-openers. For example, of the $72 million in annual costs to operate the eHealth network, $30 million — $2.5 million a month — is spent maintaining circuits that have virtually or literally no traffic. Application development has fallen behind infrastructure development, and the health-care community can't use most of the applications —they're simply not done yet.
Given the nationwide mandate for HR, eHealth Ontario can't go on the scrap heap. But reading the report, it's clear that this is an object lesson in botched project management.
So the question remains: How do we salvage eHealth Ontario? It's time for some crowdsourcing. Read the report and tell us in the comment field below what your first steps would be to turn this foundering ship around. If your answers are pragmatic and effective enough, you could be expensing tea and muffins in no time.


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