Introducing ITAC Health
By Brendan Seaton, President ITAC Health
Brendan Seaton, President, ITAC Health
More than two years ago the Canadian
Health Information Technology Trade Association (CHITTA) merged with ITAC.
The fledgling health association was created in 2002 to promote the use of
eHealth and the interests of ICT companies in the health sector. With an
explosion in health ICT investment, spurred in part by the Federal
Government’s investment of $1.6 billion through Canada Health Infoway,
CHITTA’s mandate quickly outgrew its capacity to support the industry.
The merger allowed CHITTA to leverage the
experience and resources of ITAC, particularly in the areas of policy and
advocacy. ITAC is well known as the voice of the ICT industry among key
decision-makers in government. As the association prepares for a pro-active
campaign to further promote investment in health ICT, it was
decided that we
should change our name to ITAC Health, allowing us to leverage the ITAC
brand for the benefit of the 120 ITAC member
companies active in the health
The mission of ITAC Health is to build a
strong health ICT industry in Canada that contributes
to the health and
well-being of Canadians, the Canadian health system and Canada’s economy.
ITAC Health has its own Board of Directors selected from ITAC members that
provide products and services to the health sector. The work of ITAC Health
is conducted through six committees:
Advocacy Committee – liaising with
government decision-makers to promote increased investment in health ICT.
Development Committee – hosting
networking and educational events that bring member companies together
with opinion leaders, decision-makers and buyers.
Interoperability and Standards
Committee – representing industry in the development and adoption of
technical and application standards for eHealth and promoting member’s
Physician Office Systems Committee –
promoting the interests of companies that develop, market and support
clinical management systems in the doctor’s office.
Capacity Building Committee –
addressing the current and looming shortages in health ICT human
Membership Services Committee –
promoting membership in ITAC Health and ensuring that members receive
value for their membership dollar.
If your company develops, sells or
supports products and services for the health sector, you should be a part
of ITAC Health. Engagement in one or more of our committees is an excellent
developmental opportunity for your staff, allowing them to expand their
knowledge and network of contacts.
For more information about ITAC Health,
check out our new website at here [http://www.itac.ca/health] or contact our
Executive Director, Elaine Huesing by email at email@example.com or by
telephone at (780) 489-4574.
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TELUS Health Solutions: 2008 ITAC Health
Company of the Year
By Jason Grosse
Barry Rivelis, Vice-President, TELUS Health Solutions
The award, which was presented at the annual Canadian Health Informatics
Awards on Nov. 19, honours TELUS Health Solutions as a for-profit healthcare
information technology company that has demonstrated excellence in the
Canadian health informatics industry within the past 12 months. It coincides
with the recent announcement of a $100 million investment in the healthcare
sector by TELUS and the creation of TELUS Health Solutions - Backed by
Emergis. TELUS was
nominated for its work with CritiCall Ontario in implementing a system that
included TELUS iScheduler and Call Centre Anywhere application, an
application which helps to streamline to process by which physicians connect
to critically ill patients.
Barry Rivelis, Vice-President, Telus Health Solutions spoke to ITAC Online
about the project.
What was the CritiCall Ontario project?
We were engaged by CritCall to provide them technology to help in two areas.
One was to provide an upgraded infrastructure for the call centre. The
second was to provide e-referral and wait time software to enable their
agents to manage the entire circle of care anywhere and anytime, independent
of physician or patient location for the Province of Ontario.
What was the development process like?
After winning the contract, we worked with CritiCall to develop an
implementation plan and process roadmap with underlying structure supported
by outsourced TELUS resources who are co-located at CritiCall and managed by
What were some of the best practices in achieving efficiency and excellence
in the project?
A couple of key things — certainly the communications process and the single
point of managing for each part of the implementation were key elements.
Second was the overall escalation in the way issues were managed.
What benefits did it provide CritiCall Ontario with?
There were several areas that were highlighted. One was the ability to scale
the operation. Two was the ability to continue operation in the event of a pandemic or
emergency no matter where the CritiCall call agents were — it made (CritiCall)
less building dependant. Thirdly, it gave CritiCall the ability and
a platform to grow their operation. Finally, was giving the ability to shrink
wrap the solution expand services in Ontario as well as and export the
model across the country and internationally.
What were some of the challenges of the project?
You’re dealing with very busy people who have a lean management team. In
addition, they are providing critical services to physicians and you’ve got
to be able to manage within budget.
How does this project align with TELUS’ Healthcare commitment in Canada?
The three elements of our strategy are really to drive better decisions,
drive capacity and capability in the system and fostering illness prevention and
knowledge. This solution really hits all three.
TELUS also has some other health projects around the country, any
We’re currently installing and implementing the electronic health record for
the Montréal health region. We provide the electronic health record for
Sunnybrook health sciences; we’re in the process of building the drug
information system for the province of Newfoundland, we have installed TELUS
iScheduler for the Province of Manitoba and we have deployed TELUS Mobile
Wound Care in Northern Ontario for the VON . In addition, we are the largest
private health claims processor in Canada and provide practice management
software to over 40 per cent of pharmacies in the country.
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Interoperability Lab Facilitates Adoption of pan-Canadian EHR Standards
By Gavin Tong, Vice-President Standards, ITAC
Gavin Tong, Vice-President Standards, ITAC Health
“Adopting” pan-Canadian EHR standards,
like any IT standard, is a two party enterprise. It requires a vendor to
incorporate the standards into its products, and a purchaser who buys the
product and puts it into use insisting on the standard.
Canada’s EHR standards and architecture work is award winning, but faces
several real world barriers to being fully realized. One of those barriers
is the risks associated with being an early adopter of the EHR standards.
These risks that are felt by both the vendor and the purchaser.
Fortunately, Canada has the Mohawk Applied
Research Centre in Health Informatics or MARC HI to help overcome some of
those barriers. The team from Mohawk has created a working model of the
Infoway EHR Architecture Blueprint that adheres to the pan-Canadian EHR
standards. In conjunction with industry partners from private, public and
not-for profit organizations, the Mohawk team created an active sandbox and
test bed – as well as an applied research facility – that can be used to
test EHR standards implementations.
According to Derek Ritz, MARC HI Advisory
Council Member, the key to adoption lies in the testing:
“I don’t think we should spend public
money on anything that hasn’t had its risk mitigated by having at least been
built in the lab … If this (EHR standards) works in the lab then we can take
it to heart, if this doesn’t work in the lab then nothing about standing it
up in the field is going to make it any better.”
If you’d like to learn more about the MARC
HI project, you can watch a narrated overview here:
http://www.mohawkcollege.ca/marc/hi/MARC HI Overview.wmv or check out
their website at
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ITAC Health Pays Tribute to Leadership and
Innovation across the Country
Nov. 21, 2008 (TORONTO, ON): The
“feelingbetternow” web resource for treating common mental health disorders,
an exemplary leader in demonstrating interoperability for electronic health
records (EHR) and a unique tool to aid in making the EHR a reality – these
and other innovative leaders and achievements in the use of information and
technology to better healthcare were honoured in front of a sold-out crowd
of 380 during the fourth annual Canadian Health Informatics Awards Gala at
the Sheraton Centre Toronto Nov. 19. To read the entire article, including
the list of winners, go to:
Dr. Bob Roberts Talks Technology and Health at ITAC Board of Directors'
On Thursday Nov. 13, Dr. Bob Roberts, President, CEO and Chief Scientific
Officer of the Ottawa Heart Institute, was the keynote speaker at ITAC’s
Board of Governors’ meeting and reception. In a highly informative
presentation he gave a historical view of some of the advances that medicine
has made with the help of technology. He outlined his vision of the future
of medicine, not only in Canada, but worldwide. His vision is of a continued
contribution to medicine from technology which will help redefine our
perceptions of the limits to human health.
CRA Posts New Form and Guidelines for SR&ED Program
Users of the SR&ED program are encouraged to review it. Members of ITAC’s
Tax and Finance Committee have expressed concern about the lack of
consultation preceeding the release of this guide. For further information
please contact Lynda Leonard at 613-238-4822 Ext. 223 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or go to:
Chapter Eighth Annual Conference
December 1, 2008
Examining Digital Interactive Media – Are We Maximizing the Benefits?
As the world of media evolves with lightning pace, we have found new ways to
communicate, network, play and inform ourselves. Canadians are increasingly
using mobile devices and engaging interactive applications that include
digital content distribution platforms, social networking and virtual
worlds. Is Canada investing sufficiently in wireline and wireless networks
to support broadband access anywhere, anytime? What is required to encourage
the deployment of next generation networks, support digital interactive
media business models and connect Canadians to Canadian programming in the
digital interactive world? For more information, go to:
For a complete listing of all ITAC events go to:
OTHER NEWS AND EVENTS
Energy Study Benchmark Study Will Benefit Ontario
Manufacturers Advancing Opportunities in Energy Management
The CME has secured funding to study energy management at approximately 300
manufacturing facilities. The study will define the potential for energy
savings within the province, and will establish a platform for policies and
supporting programs directed towards manufacturing to help reduce operating
costs and increase productivity. While the study will provide long-term
benefits to industry, there are immediate advantages to participating in the
study. For the 300 facilities that participate in the study, each will get
an individual report; 88 will be eligible for onsite benchmarking that
provides more information and clarity regarding energy projects that the
companies can pursue to improve their bottom lines. Eligibility for the
study is based on first come, first serve, and meeting study quotas
regarding sector and size participation. Results are confidential; only
aggregate data will be disclosed. Participation in the study program is
free. For more information: e-mail
Change your world or the world will change you The
future of collaborative government and Web 2.0
The demand for
government to deliver rapid, efficient service has never been greater. How
can the public sector leverage the power of Internet-based tools to add more
value and do more with less? Deloitte’s report entitled Change your world or
the world will change you: the future of collaborative government and Web
2.0 provides the answers.
To download the complete report, go to:
Pacific Northwest Wireless Summit
January 18 - 20, 2009
The Pacific Northwest Wireless Summit (PNWS) delivers a compelling mix of
the practical and the visionary around four themes: Ideas, Innovation,
Insight, and Investment. The wireless and new media conference will feature
leading edge companies, technology and business intelligence and will bring
together leaders, innovators, analysts and investors from Canada, the US,
Europe and Asia Pacific in the devices, networks, and applications mobile
sectors. The two-and-a-half-day Summit features five specialty forums, eight
keynote speakers, 26 educational sessions, 20 select exhibitors and more
than 200 wireless and new media professionals from the Pacific Northwest,
Asia Pacific, Western Europe and rest of the world. To learn more please
Technology World - Meet With Prospective British ICT Partners
Nov. 17 - 18, 2008
Following the success of Technology World 2007, this
is a great opportunity for those looking to do business in the UK. For more
PHIPA Summit 2008: Protecting Privacy While Managing Health Information
December 2 - 3, 2008
Renaissance Toronto Hotel
This event focuses on the right balance between allowing health care
providers to quickly pass on the information needed for patient care to
other health providers, while restricting unauthorized disclosure. The PHIPA
Summit 2008 will provide an opportunity for the health care provider
community to share their own experiences with PHIPA over the last few years,
to learn best practices from all over the country and to participate in
spirited debate and discussion with field leaders. For more information, go
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