Atlantic e-Health Roundtable

Health care costs are rising faster than the rate of inflation. Shifts in demographics in Atlantic Canada will push health care costs even higher in coming years. Expectations concerning health care outcomes increasingly reflect technological and pharmacological advances that will continue to drive costs. In this environment, governments should pursue an analysis of all cost-saving solutions that do not contribute to increases in clinical risk.

Key among these cost saving avenues is consolidating health data across the Atlantic region and finding workable eHealth opportunities with the prospect that these solutions could create Atlantic-wide centre of excellence and support economic development initiatives. One of the key attributes of a successful strategy will be speed. Typically, initiatives of this type are driven by government which possesses neither the resources nor the competitive impetus to mobilize a complex solution to market.

Significant opportunities exist to rationalize and harmonize regional functional elements of eHealth to reduce costs for each jurisdiction. Ultimately, these initiatives could result in the creation of a substantial number of jobs associated with regional eHealth centres and additional high-paid employment in eHealth-focused enterprises where markets could extend to the rest of Canada. As U.S. health programs come on line, there will be additional strong opportunities to market Atlantic eHealth expertise.

The challenge will be to determine how Atlantic Canada can provide leadership to these initiatives. An additional challenge will be to determine the scope and scale of economic growth and revenue-generating opportunities provided by eHealth business development, including creating e-Health Centres of Excellence driving private sector-led eHealth industry growth into Canada and the U.S. Finally, a key objective will be to develop a strategic plan coordinating next steps for immediate opportunities.

On October 24-26, 2011, the Carlisle Institute will host the Atlantic e-Health Roundtable, a three-day executive conference featuring business, government and NGO experts from around the world in addition to more than 100 regional stakeholders from across the Atlantic provinces. Matchmaking services will be provided to regional firms that want to investigate opportunities with national and multinational players. Attendance will be by invitation.

Participants will meet in a roundtable environment with federal and provincial government officials to identify and discuss practical and immediate eHealth opportunities going forward. A key objective will be to outline a strategy promoting Atlantic-wide eHealth initiatives, including the creation of an Atlantic eHealth data and development centers, and identifying their risks, benefits and costs.

For additional information about this initiative, contact the Carlisle Institute at ehealthroundtable@carlisleinstitute.org.