A bump on the infoway

Senior staff churn in the provincial government has been comparatively pacific over the past couple months. But from the shores of the health ministry comes this rogue wave: two weeks ago, deputy minister Penny Ballem announced she was "pleased...(ministry chief information officer) John Schinbein has accepted our offer to lead an important eHealth program initiative." Translation: Mr. Schinbein is no longer the ministry's chief information officer. And, in what surely is an astounding coincidence, his two lieutenants - architecture and standards senior manager Mike Leavy and healthnetBC director Stuart Frampton - have also left to...um..."pursure other opportunities." And why, you may wonder, is this important? Well, one of Mr. Schinbein's successors (Peter Durrant) will be taking over responsiblity for laying down British Columbia's stretch of the Canada Health Infoway - a controversial $100 million federally-funded health survelliance system. The following is a complete copy of Ms. Ballem's memo.

Re: Staffing Changes - CIO and eHealth

Over the past two years, government has placed a high priority on strategic planning in the areas of eHealth and this emphasis has allowed us to make significant progress. We are now approaching a new stage in the development of these exciting advances and, in this context, we are implementing some staff transfers and reassignments.

As we move ahead, we have made some changes in our leadership responsibilities to enable us to maximize our ability to meet our challenging goals and timetable. I am pleased to announce John Schinbein has accepted our offer to lead an important eHealth program initiative on behalf of the Ministry of Health and will be working closely with and reporting directly to Ron Danderfer, Assistant Deputy Minister, Knowledge Management and Technology Division, on this key project. This move by John Schinbein requires some readjustment of other roles and responsibilities.

Joan Elangovan will now take on the Chief Information Officer functions for interfaces within government and the Ministry. Peter Durrant will assume the CIO functions for eHealth, the health authorities/Ministry CIO Council and all activities related to Canada Health Infoway. Mike Leavy and Stuart Frampton have left the Ministry and will be pursuing other opportunities.

While the changes described above are effective immediately, over the coming weeks we will be realigning the work of the Knowledge Management and Technology Division teams to ensure that we are making the best use of staff expertise and efforts to advance our long and short term health system plans. For the health authority leadership, I ask that you support Peter Durrant, who will be responsible for the interface with the health authorities on our eHealth agenda as he begins to organize his area. We will be looking for qualified applicants to assume senior project management roles within the eHealth Branch, and these opportunities will be posted in the near future. Joan Elangovan will be working closely with the rest of government on important cross-ministry initiatives. To my Deputy Minister colleagues, I ask that you and your staff support her in this work.

At this time, I would like to thank all the Divisional staff for their dedication and hard work on our many initiatives. We have come a long way in the past four years and there is still much to do. I am confident that the changes outlined here will further strengthen our ability to plan for, and take maximum advantage of eHealth in delivering a high quality, effective, and sustainable health system.

Original signed by

Penny Ballem, MD
Deputy Minister

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