Meet 2023 Board of Directors Election Candidate Anne Forsyth

Candidate name: Anne Forsyth
Title: Manager, Data Standards
Organization: Canadian Institute for Health Information

Anne has 15 years of experience in the Digital Health field across government, hospital and community organizations. Her expertise is in the areas of data standards, information privacy and program development.   Anne is currently the Manager of Data Standards at the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), where she is responsible for establishing and operationalizing a corporate centre of excellence for data standards within the organization. Prior to this role, she led the expansion and modernization efforts of CIHI’s largest data holdings, DAD and NACRS, which collect data from acute, ambulatory and emergency departments. She successfully increased pan-Canadian emergency department data coverage from 65% to 85% and led key initiatives such as increasing the timeliness of opioid overdose data in Ontario and planning for the next generation of data collection systems that will serve the data needs of one of Canada’s biggest and busiest health sectors. Anne has also worked in crown agencies such as eHealth Ontario and Cancer Care Ontario, where she cultivated a passion for advancing digital health solutions to support clinical and operational workflows.  Anne volunteers with Digital Health Canada and HIMSS Ontario on various committees, as a faculty member, and as a mentor. She has also held Board positions, including at a community mental health centre that provides services anchored in an anti-racist, anti-Black racism and anti-oppression framework. Anne holds CPHIMS-CA and CIPP/C certifications and has a Bachelor of Health Science degree in Health Studies and Management Studies from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Health Science in Health Administration from the University of Toronto.

How long have you been a member of Digital Health Canada?

9 years

Why do you want to join the Digital Health Canada Board of Directors at this point in your career?

I have worked in Canada’s digital health industry for 15 years. Over this time, I have made it my mission to volunteer in whichever capacity I felt could contribute meaningfully to the community; and now, I’d like to take on a role in which I can think more strategically about how we can empower and inspire existing and future digital health professionals. The state of our healthcare systems in Canada are at a critical point, and establishing a strong digital health community that is actively engaged in solving current-state challenges will be a key success factor. The programs and content that Digital Health Canada develops for its members will be instrumental in connecting, inspiring and educating; and I hope to be able to contribute to Digital Health Canada’s strategic plans and initiatives to enable and equip our industry as we navigate this juncture.

How does your experience align with the Digital Health Canada strategic plan and mandate?

Throughout my career, I have sought out opportunities to give back to the digital health community: as a mentor, as a member of Digital Health Canada’s faculty and through various teaching opportunities in my workplaces. For me, the most fulfilling aspect of volunteering time to empower individuals, knowledge-share and advocate for positive change, is the potential to be a catalyst in shaping the future of healthcare in our country. My experience spans data standards, information privacy, product management and program development in digital health. I have worked at CIHI for 8 years and have had an opportunity to lead the modernization of its largest operational databases and, most recently, have been deeply involved with the establishment of a pan-Canadian health data content framework to meet the goals of the pan-Canadian health data strategy. This work has afforded me the opportunity to work with stakeholders and partner organizations across the country, including ministries of health, eHealth agencies, health authorities, hospitals, vendors and pan-Canadian health organizations. The skills I have developed through these many collaborations, and the knowledge I have gained about the direction the industry is going in, will allow me to contribute effectively if I am elected to a Board position.

What unique skills, perspectives and contributions would you bring to the Digital Health Canada Board?

As someone who has lived the immigrant experience in Canada, one of my deepest passions is to help bridge the gap for newcomers so they are able to find a career pathway in healthcare. The skill gap we face across all aspects of the industry – clinical, technology, leadership – is growing at an astounding pace, and tapping into immigrant talent will be crucial to our success. There is a considerable need for more training, mentorship and network building, all of which are core to Digital Health Canada’s strategy. I’m excited to contribute fresh ideas and perspectives on how we can address these needs.  One of the most meaningful teaching experiences I had as a member of Digital Health Canada’s faculty was in a program it ran in partnership with The Centre for Education and Training (TCET). I had an opportunity to teach a workshop for a group of newcomers about the Canadian healthcare landscape. That experience taught me about the value that Digital Health Canada can provide to this population, including the areas in which we can evolve and grow our content and resources.

Do you or have or have you ever had any direct patient care experience (clinical)?

I started volunteering at hospitals in high school – connecting with patients and providing even the simplest service such as translating a menu item to ease their day was so fulfilling.   As part of my Master of Health Administration degree, I completed a practicum at Michael Garron Hospital where I had an opportunity to learn about all aspects of hospital operations.

What segments within the Digital Health Canada community do you feel you will best represent?

  • Emerging Professionals
  • Leaders
  • IM/IT Practitioners
  • Healthcare Institutions
  • National eHealth Organizations

With which Digital Health Canada committees, task groups or activities have you volunteered in the past five years? Describe your most significant contributions to Digital Health Canada’s mission.

Digital Health Canada faculty member:  -Led workshops for the TCET partnership program. I stay in touch with many of the graduates of this program and seeing them use the skills they gained in these workshops to progress in their careers has been a highlight for me.  -Contributed to content development for the CPHIMS-CA Credential Prep Course     eHealth 2023 abstract reviewer 

What other board appointments or relevant leadership experiences have you had in the past five years?

Board member, vice chair and chair at Across Boundaries for over 8 years. Across Boundaries is a Toronto-based community mental health centre that provides services anchored in an anti-racist, anti-Black racism and anti-oppression framework.  Condo board president for 4 years.

Please tell us why you feel Digital Health Canada members should vote for you.

I am deeply committed to strengthening the digital health community within Canada. The specific area I am passionate about is making career pathways in digital health accessible and available to newcomers, and I bring many ideas on how we can be better at this as a community. I bring over a decade of board experience and can provide a pan-Canadian perspective on the digital health industry.  I work hard, and will tirelessly represent the interests of Digital Health Canada members as we shape the future of our industry.

Do you currently hold the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems – Canada (CPHIMS-CA) credential?

Yes

What is your educational background? Please list all degrees and designations.

Master of Health Science, Health Administration  Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
Bachelor of Science, Honours, Co-op Program  Major in Health Studies, Minor in Management Studies, University of Waterloo
Certified Information Privacy Professional of Canada (CIPP/C)
Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems – Canada (CPHIMS-CA)