The MacKinnon Report and Connect Care

The Government of Alberta today released its "Blue Ribbon Panel" review of the province's financial perils and prospects. The panel, chaired by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon, flagged the healthcare system for high expenditures not matched by high performance.

Many of the panel recommendations hinge on inter-provincial comparisons of per-capital spending, using aggregate measures. Of necessity, this is more about where we've been than where we are going. And there is little assessment of the health processes or outcomes that Albertans may value most for their loved ones.

In any case, the panel deliberations already fuel political debate about how the health care system should achieve more with less. Operational recommendations for Alberta Health Services will surface in a separate review expected later this year.

Notably absent is discussion about the role of health information transformation in creating the conditions for iterative, evidence-informed, improvement attuned to Alberta's circumstances, values and aspirations. This is good. There is nothing in the report to discourage us from striving to fulfill our vision for Connect Care. Our transformation agenda is a necessary condition for continuing improvement... including Alberta's competitive positioning among provinces.

A very important report, which physicians should be aware of: