Community Learning Space

The infraNET Project and 
Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research
University of Waterloo

present ...

"Why not eHealthcare Now?
The Resistance to Change in Our Healthcare System"


Honourable Michael J. L. Kirby
Former Senator
Chairman, Mental Health Commission

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Davis Centre, Room 1302
University of Waterloo

Seminar Sponsors:
Center for International Governance Innovation
Faculty of Science, University of Waterloo

Seminar Series Sponsors
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
McKesson Information Solutions - Smart Systems for Health Agency
Healthcare Information Management and Communications Canada

Presentation Archive 2007

Health care is the most information intensive industry in Canada. Each year there are more than one billion encounters between patients and the health care system. Yet virtually all of the information generated by these encounters is recorded on paper rather than electronically.

Why is it that service providers, who are so ready to embrace the benefits of new drugs, new tests and new technology, are so reluctant to embrace the benefits of a modern electronic data management system?

Why is it that governments, which have been so willing to fund new advances in medical technology, are so reluctant to fund information systems technology in health care?

Why is it that patients are so concerned about the privacy of their personal data that they resist the introduction of modern information systems, even when it can be shown that privacy can be maintained in such systems?

Understanding the financial, professional and particularly the psychological reasons for this resistance to change is essential if e-health is finally to come of age in Canada.

About the Speaker
Prior to entering government, Michael was a professor in the Schools of Business Administration and Public Administration at Dalhousie University. He was also a faculty member at the Business Schools of the University of Chicago and the University of Kent (England). His involvement in the private sector has included Senior VP positions at Canadian National and Goldfarb Consultants, an international market research firm headquartered in Toronto.

He was a member of the Senate from January 13, 1984 until October 31, 2006. During this time , he was the Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology which studied the hospital and doctor system and produced the 2002 report, Recommendations for Reform. Under his leadership, the Committee produced 11 healthcare reports, including the first-ever national report on mental health, mental illness and addiction, Out of the Shadows at Last.

Currently, Michael Kirby is the Special Ministerial Advisor on Mental Health and is the Chair of the Federal Government s Mental Health Commission. He is also serving on the Board of Directors of several public companies. For ten years, Michael Kirby was a weekly panelist on the Canada A.M. "Political Pundits Panel."

Michael has a B.Sc. and an M.A. in Mathematics (Dalhousie University), and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics (Northwestern University). In 1997, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws at Dalhousie University.

For more information
Shirley Fenton
Managing Director, WIHIR
University of Waterloo
(519) 888-4074

Seminar Hosts
This seminar is hosted by the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research (WIHIR) and The infraNET Project, University of Waterloo.

The infraNET Project, initiated by the University of Waterloo in 1996, is a partnership to advance Web and Internet technologies. Its founding partners were: LivePage (now part of Oracle), MKS, Open Text, RIM, Sybase (Waterloo) and Waterloo Maple.

We also gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Institute for Computer Research, University of Waterloo.