Technological Changes In Saskatchewan Health Care:

An Abysmal Disaster

By Mario deSantis, May 27, 1999


health budget is not addressing the needs

After being labelled as a back stabber by our constitutional lawyer Premier Roy Romanow(1),
MLA Ken Krawetz is right on target when he stated that a $1.9-billion health budget is not
addressing the needs of Saskatchewan residents and that money should be spent more

districts operate as puppets

One of the major philosophical shortcoming of the health system has been the calcified mind set
of SAHO along with the government to centralize the health care operations and have the health
care districts operate as puppets of SAHO and the government.
  Let me refer for example to the area of high technological implementations. In 1995, SAHO and

SHIN has progressed to the stage to become another obsolete bureaucratic agency

Saskatchewan Health were getting ready to implement the Saskatchewan Health Care System
Architecture(3), the biggest ever project undertaken by the government at a cost in the order of
hundreds of millions of dollars(4). The Provincial Auditor analysed this project and remarked
that most big projects are effected by new technological changes and that they never see their
completion as originally designed(5). The implementation of the Saskatchewan Health Care
System Architecture was eventually scaled down to cost approximately $40 millions and took the
name of the Saskatchewan Health Information Network (SHIN)(6). It is my understanding that
these $40 million dollars have been already spent and that SHIN has progressed to the stage to
become another obsolete bureaucratic agency whose existence is presently being justified by
  reinventing the wheel: SHIN will be integrating e-mail across the health system(7).

Telehealth is not yet operational but already obsolete

SAHO, the government and the health districts are not understanding yet the business implications
of the Internet Economy characterized by continuous technological changes and they are still
implementing high technological projects over three-five year periods. I am now referring
to the Telehealth(8) (9) system which has cost millions of dollars of taxpayer money, which is not
operative yet, and whose technology is already obsolete.

Telehealth to link Cumberland House to Nipawin

The Telehealth system will be operational in linking Cumberland House, a northern community
about 350 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, to Nipawin. Our Associate Health Minister
Judy Junor, in reviewing the Telehealth system has stated "...It's going to be a significant
change in how health services are delivered in remote areas, and in particular in the north..."(10)
  This is progress in Northern Saskatchewan, the provision of an obsolete Telehealth system to

Millions spent to develop Telehealth system

a community in desperate needs of economic development, better living conditions, and where
the infant mortality rate is one of highest in Canada(11) (12). Millions of taxpayer dollars have
been thrown away for the development of the Telehealth system, while our next door business FTL
Communications of Tisdale could implement this Cumberland House-Nipawin linking for few
thousand dollars along with the opportunity to use new technologies and diversify the local rural
economy(13). This Telehealth system is another contribution to a disastrous economic policy
of health failures, against rural Saskatchewan, against the impoverished northern communities and
  against all health care customers of this province.




NOTES FOR REMARKS by Premier Roy Romanow to the Annual Convention of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party, Saturday, Nov. 22, 1997


Atkinson disputes healt-care study finding, by Mark Wyatt, The StarPhoenix, May 20, 1999, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Managing Information Technology-A Vision for the Future- Information Technology Architecture, Page 1.2, Saskatchewan Health, April 1995


Review of Economic Soundness of the Implementation of the Saskatchewan Healthcare Systems Architecture, by Mario deSantis, June 21, 1995


Report of the Provincial Auditor, 1997 Spring, Saskatchewan


A Historical Perspective of The Saskatchewan Health Information Network, March 1998, by Mario deSantis and James deSantis


Saskatchewan Health Information Network Newsletter, Volume 3 Issue 1, May 1999


Ottawa kicks in $400,000 to SDH for video-conferencing. Article reported in The StarPhoenix, January 16, 1999, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.


Never enough money for SAHO, by Mario deSantis, March 30, 1999, published in the North Central Internet News


Province pitches to close gaps using a high-tech diagnosis, by Lisa Schmidt, The StarPhoenix, May 21, 1999, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


The Child Challenge, May 23, 1999, FTLComm - Tisdale, published in the North Central Internet News


Do we need further specialized researches in Saskatchewan health care?, by Mario deSantis, May 21, 1999, published in the North Central Internet News


Worldwide Developer's Conference Begins Today, FTLComm - San Jose - May 10, 1999 by: Timothy W. Shire "...Through the wonders of QuickTime 4.0 I was able to attend the Keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose California and listen as interim CEO Steve Jobs and head of software development Avie Trevanian outline Apple's present strategy...". Published in the North Central Internet News