Meet 2023 Board of Directors Election Candidate Wendy Tegart

Candidate name: Wendy Tegart
Title: Director, Provincial Technology Services
Organization: Alberta Health Services

Wendy is a highly skilled health informatics leader; passionate about transforming health care through stakeholder engagement and experienced in strategic planning, road mapping, portfolio/program management, and systems implementation. Her 25+ year career has been focused on operational management and service excellence in various healthcare organizations including Alberta Health Services, Calgary Health Region, and University Health Services in Toronto. Currently, Wendy leads a team of 225 IT professionals and oversees service desk management, access provisioning, identity management and directory services. She is enthusiastic about creating a safe, diverse, and inclusive working environment at AHS and is a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Council, and co-chair of a Joint Workforce Health & Safety Committee. Supporting the next generation of IT professionals is her other passion. She is a member of Southern Alberta’s Institute of Technology (SAIT) IT Advisory Committee and participates in industry panels/ recruitment nights at post-secondary organizations to encourage university students to consider Health IT as a career. Her volunteer pursuits include organizing local events within Alberta with “Digital Health Canada” and participating in the “Girls Who Game” program that develops science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills in girls while having fun through gaming.

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

I’ve had the pleasure of being a member of Digital Health Canada for over 20 years.

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

My motivation to join the Digital Health Canada Board of Directors is to bring my Health Information Science education, IT operational experience and passion for healthcare IT into a collaborative team with combined goals of introducing innovation to accelerate the transformation of health service delivery across the country. Over the past 25 years, I have acquired knowledge and experience about the challenges and opportunities in healthcare, and the technology solutions that are needed to support digital health maturity. I have led several initiatives that applied IT principles and best practices that delivered technology services that provided responsive customer service, excellent technological advancement, strategic and tactical solutions and quality processes and deliverables. Moreover, I have worked in large and complex public sector organizations like Alberta Health Services and University Health Network where there are rigorous processes for procuring and implementing technologies that meet business requirements. The current Digital Health Canada Board is a dynamic group of people who are professional, ethical, smart and eager to participate. What better environment to be in when examining challenges, looking for real-world solutions, and then bringing people together to achieve them?  Coupled with my work at Alberta Health Services, this is where I want to be. It would be a privilege to contribute my skills and experience to the goals of the Digital Health Canada Strategy.

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

My understanding of technologies, people, and processes enables me to deliver effective, comprehensive IT solutions that align with an organization’s goals and strategic priorities – these skills would be, I believe, an asset to the Digital Health Canada Board of Directors. It is a challenging and exciting time to be building the future of healthcare in Canada. The workforce is getting smaller while the demand for healthcare services continues to grow.  The Baby Boomers generation is aging, the Covid-19 Pandemic has taught us many, often painful, lessons, and the upcoming generations are demanding more accessibility and transparency than we’ve ever had before. Only by leveraging digital health solutions, collaboratively sharing lessons learned, and connecting the network of health professionals and partners can we solve these challenges. I also value DHC’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity.  The healthcare industry is a global, diverse, and multicultural workspace that collaborates virtually around the world or in the same office. Creating a safe environment where they can share with each other and bring out the best of their skillset is paramount to our success. Being Indigenous myself, I see the challenges from a personal perspective which makes me work just that bit harder to create the best, most inclusive working environments within the organizations I am involved with, and I welcome helping this association to grow and diversify membership.

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

I have been very lucky to be part of varied projects and initiatives for Alberta Health Services and University Health Network which are both the largest and most complex healthcare organizations in Canada.  As a Healthcare IT professional, I bring the ability to balance between effective/sustainable IT processes and technical excellence, without losing sight of the important day-to-day needs of operational healthcare delivery.    I want to get engaged with other digital health leaders to empower others in this industry, create an open space for sharing lessons learned and advocate for solutions that will be catalysts for positive change.  For years I have been working with young people to encourage them to be brave enough to put up their hands to new things and push their boundaries… it is now my chance to do that as well which is why I am applying for this board member opportunity. I have strengths as a connector of people and a mentor. The digital health field requires productive and trustful relationships – often across teams and skill sets. There is an art to developing engagement, drawing out the skills that will achieve the work, and removing barriers that hinder it. I have been fortunate to have worked with and been mentored by some remarkable leaders who have become not only long-time industry colleagues but also friends. Mentors are invaluable, whether formally or informally, and I’ve applied this passion of mine to student programs over the past 20 years to ensure the public sector organizations I have worked for have strong relationships with post-secondary intuitions. Our industry will always need new ideas and fresh perspectives. I hope my mentorship, past and ongoing, of many young people at the start of their professional and personal journeys has encouraged them to continue their healthcare IT careers.

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

While I am not a clinical professional, I have worked in Information Technology for Healthcare my entire career. My colleagues, stakeholders and collaborators are physicians, clinicians, allied health professionals, researchers, students, and administrators. They all contribute to patient care directly or indirectly and they’ve taught me so much from each of their perspectives and how they must work as a whole. I’ve been involved in many projects supporting their clinical and business requirements with the shared goal of making their day-to-day and long-term goals easier to achieve with technology. Without exception, the most significant of these is the Connect Care Program (EPIC) – the largest clinical information system in Canada. Everyone at Alberta Health Services contributes to the development and success of Connect Care in more ways than can be counted. The IT areas I lead are responsible for managing and supporting access to all the Connect Care applications over 9 sequential launches stretching from 2019 to 2024.  Connect Care exists in its most robust forms in AHS clinical sites but extends into community healthcare clinics, and people’s lives where they can engage more directly with their providers and manage their own health information.  This bodes well for our wellness as a population and as a system. I lead a team of 225 IT professionals including service desk management, access provisioning, identity management and directory services who contributed directly to the Covid-19 Provincial Pandemic Plan. Almost overnight, AHS delivered multiple Covid-19 Portals available at borders, airports, mobile assessment, and vaccination centers.  These portals were key to providing vital care at a crucial time. AHS has transitioned to the current Alberta Vaccine Booking System that was first used for Covid-19 vaccination campaigns but is expanding to include seasonal influenza and more.    Understanding what each stakeholder needs in each of these situations has been a remarkable learning experience that will continue for years to come.

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

  • Executives/CIOs
  • Emerging Professionals
  • Vendors
  • IM/IT Practitioners
  • Leaders
  • Healthcare Institutions

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

During my 20+ year involvement with Digital Health Canada, I’ve been involved in several initiatives and as with all collaborative endeavours, my skills and perspective expanded by using them in new ways with other people. My earliest involvement with Digital Health Canada was in the 1990s, as a University of Victoria Health Information Science student. I had the pleasure of working with Steven Huesing and his team at a few COACH conferences. Since then, I have been involved in planning numerous Alberta conferences over the years that fostered networks for growth, idea sharing, and building a community of people with a collective passion for advancing digital health provincially and nationally. Most recently I was a member of the planning committee of the 2023 Digital Health Canada/ANHIX Calgary Winter Conference which had the forward-facing theme of “The Healthcare of Tomorrow’. In late 2022, I was asked to be part of the Women Leaders in Digital Health Award Adjudication Committee.  This group celebrates the top female visionaries who are harnessing the power of IT to transform health and healthcare in Canada today.

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

Over the years I have held several leadership positions on a variety of initiatives that will support working on the Digital Health Canada Board.  These are all aligned with my focus on connecting, empowering and inspiring others.

  • Alberta Health Services – Diversity & Inclusion Council – IT Representative (2020-Present)  This Council prioritizes and guides activities to create safer and more inclusive environments.  For the second year in a row, AHS is named as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers.
  • Alberta Health Services – Joint Workforce Health & Safety Committee – Co-Chair (2020-Present)  Implemented the first IT JWHSC to meet legislative requirements during the pandemic. Purpose to collaborate, promote Health & Safety policies/programs, handle employee concerns, conduct quarterly site inspections and review Incident reports.
  • Girls Who Game Program – Sponsored by Dell, Microsoft and Intel – Speaker/Mentor (2020- Present)  This extracurricular program provides an opportunity for underserved students across North America to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through gaming. The young women are mentored to learn such skills as computational and critical thinking, communications, collaboration, problem-solving and innovation.
  • Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) – IT Advisory Committee– Member (2015-Present)  This committee helps ensure the computer sciences programs are aligning the curriculum to the evolving industry demands.
  • Post-Secondary Institutions – Industry Panels / Recruitment Events – Speaker (2000-Present)  Supporting the next generation of IT professionals is a passion of mine; encouraging university students to consider Health IT as a career.
  • IT Service Management Forum (itSMF)- Southern Alberta Branch – Past President (2014-2017)  Led the “Community of ITSM Practice” by creating an atmosphere of inclusiveness by supporting learning and networking.

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

Digital Health Canada is a stellar organization, and I would be honoured to be elected to serve a term on its Board. I share Digital Health Canada’s values, and I believe I am a good fit with my professional skills, experience and enthusiasm. My knowledge, skill and abilities are sound, proven and growing. I’m a strategic planner that knows achievement is accomplished through tactical delivery and that relies on understanding and facilitating all the dynamic elements working together.  Ultimately, all things are built by people, and facilitating people is at the heart of every achievement. Growing and leading high-performing teams – or those that are growing in that direction – is always my goal. Achievements can then build on themselves as teams become more collaborative, intuitive, and more efficient. I am a natural problem solver and bring a pragmatic approach to everything I am involved in.  I see a need, or a challenge, understand its value and build a plan to make it happen. By voting for me, members will have a director who loves to bring people together and will work towards common goals and will be active in promoting the vision of “together, we will catalyze the digital health community”.

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

Committed to achieving my CPHIMS-CA

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

  • University of Victoria- Bachelor of Science in Health Information Science (1997)
  • University of Victoria- Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (1991)
  • ITIL Expert V3 certification (2014)