Chief Medical Officer
How long have you been a member of Digital Health Canada?
I have been a member of Digital Health Canada for six years.
Why do you want to join the Digital Health Canada Board of Directors?
The Health Informatics community in Canada has been an invaluable resource to me over the last two decades, and joining the Board is one of many ways I aim to give back to this community. Over the span of my career, I’ve accumulated extensive experience in all areas of healthcare IT, from business strategy through product design and development, sales and marketing, implementation and patient safety. I’m particularly committed to giving a voice to clinicians and patients as they adjust to the brave new world of ubiquitous technology in healthcare. At this point in my career, joining the Digital Health Canada Board is the most effective avenue I have available to advance the cause of health informatics in Canada.
How does your experience align with the Digital Health Canada strategic plan and mandate?
Digital Health Canada’s mandate and strategic plan prioritizes health system performance and innovation, advocates for technology as a key enabler, and focuses on care that is patient-centred, high quality, efficient, and continuous. My experience in health informatics over the last three decades is both deep and broad in exactly these areas and so I believe I am well-suited to support Digital Health Canada. For example, my diverse experience across multiple countries and healthcare landscapes equips me with a wealth of knowledge that I can bring to the Canadian scene. Together, these translate into practical proven achievements. I am constantly looking for how health IT fits within the current healthcare landscape and am a passionate advocate for Canada and comparisons, including how our health informatics community can do better. My approach is informed by an ethical leadership style and a solid network of HIT experts formed through my work with Orion Health and its partners. I am focused on the importance of key areas in health IT, specifically improving healthcare value and efficiency through primary care and technology, and incubating knowledge in patient-centric care coordination. These experiences demonstrate I am well-equipped to support and advance Digital Health Canada’s strategic plan and mandate.
What unique skills, perspectives and contributions would you bring to the Digital Health Canada Board?
As a health informatics executive and physician with over 20 years of global health IT experience, I bring unique value to the table with broad and deep clinical knowledge as well as a focus on clinical governance and adoption of health IT. In addition, I have a track record of highly successful global HIT experience. I have worked with numerous vendors as well as healthcare organizations, payers, providers and governments. Also, I have a proven ability to inspire others because of my dedication to the cause of health informatics. I bring extensive experience in developing and deploying shared EHRs, care coordination and population health software in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. With this international experience, I have developed a breadth of connections and strengthened my understanding of how to set strategic directions for organizations.
Do you or have or have you ever had any direct patient care experience (clinical)?
Yes, I have over 15 years as a hospital-based physician and community based primary care physician. I see primary care renewal as a key step if we are to ever achieve a high performing health system and constantly refer to concepts such as the patient centered medical home (PCMH) in the strategic development of our software. In addition, I have been responsible for most of the clinical functionality and resolution of clinical issues, globally, at Orion Health since 2005. Addressing such issues requires strong ethical leadership grounded in our clinical duty to do the best by our patients.
What segments within the Digital Health Canada community do you feel you will best represent?
Clinicians; Vendors; Leaders; Digital Health Entrepreneurs
With which Digital Health Canada committees, task groups or activities have you volunteered in past five years?
Starting in 2002, I have presented papers, panels, e-posters and rapid-fire presentations at annual e-Health conferences. I have also acted as a judge for the last four e-Health Canada hackathon events. For the last three years, I have mentored several new start-up ventures who were successful hackathon participants. I am the Digital Health Canada lead on the Community of Action on e-Safety and serve on the exam item review committee for Digital Health Canada.
What other board appointments or relevant leadership experiences have you had in the past five years?
I have a long history of relevant strategic leadership experience over my career. In the early 2000s this included serving as the founding chairman of HL7 in New Zealand, and I was a founding board member of the first major primary care network in New Zealand, known as Procare. At Procare, I pioneered the development of risk sharing contracts with the Ministry of Health for over 600 primary care physicians. As a C level executive of Orion Health, I constantly interact with leaders of major government and private organizations across North America, especially Ministries of Health implementing provincial EHRs in Canada, and CEOs of HIEs in the US. I am currently leading the Digital Health Canada Community of Action on e–Safety workgroup which recently presented to the Federal government of Canada in Ottawa. I am on the advisory board of several start-ups and provide leadership to some 20 clinicians at Orion Health.
Please tell us why you feel Digital Health Canada members should vote for you.
I have the necessary knowledge and expertise plus the experience and vision to advocate strongly for the cause of health informatics in Canada. I have had many years of building and delivering successful solutions that are being used on a daily basis by clinicians across Canada. This combination of strategic insight that brings results, coupled with front-line medical experience uniquely situates me to help Digital Health Canada grow from strength to strength.
Do you currently hold the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems – Canada (CPHIMS-CA) credential?
CPHIMSS, CPHIMSS-CA, MBA, BMedSci (Clinical Biochemistry), MBChB (Medicine), Dip HI (Health Informatics), MBA, and FRNZCGP (General Practice/Family Medicine).
Dr. Hobson has 16 years’ experience as a physician working in primary and secondary care including 10 years’ experience in Family Medicine. While working as a primary care practitioner he was instrumental in establishing the largest primary care network in New Zealand, Procare, which pioneered value-based contracting with the New Zealand Ministry of Health. During this time, he helped develop and use an EMR with full functionality including integration of electronic lab results, radiology, CPOE and e-prescribing in day-to-day practice. Subsequently Dr. Hobson worked in senior management at South Auckland Health where he oversaw the development of several integrated care and Information Technology projects such as electronic discharge letters, chronic disease management and the national immunization register for New Zealand. He worked closely with technology vendor Orion Health during that time and decided to join the company because of the important role he saw technology play in driving health system change. Since joining Orion Health, Dr. Hobson has worked globally as Chief Medical Officer in most areas of Healthcare IT, from population level health strategy through product design and development; sales marketing and implementation. Dr. Hobson has advised and made significant contributions to multiple projects and programs on both the client and vendor side as well as both payers and providers in the US. His key interests are in interoperability, technology strategy and population health with a major focus on Health Information Exchange, (aka Electronic Health Records in Canada.) He is also an expert on the evolving topic of e Safety. His significant international experience spanning Canada, New Zealand, Australia, UK, USA Spain and the Middle East enables Dr. Hobson to bring a great perspective for comparison of different health systems, including strategies that have worked well at other sites. Globally Dr. Hobson has participated and advised more than 25 Health Information Exchanges along with a significant number of chronic disease management, population health and care coordination projects. At Orion Health, Dr. Hobson leads an active team of clinicians spread across the globe and coordinates their input into products projects and other topics including e Safety. He has also served as Chief Privacy Officer for two years recently. He is an active public speaker and presenter at conferences such as eHealth Canada, HIMSS, and e Health Initiative in Washington DC.