Normally, the first and best step in finding a solution is to define the problem! In the Spring 1998 issue of Hospital Quarterly (Vol. 1 No. 3), we stated in reference to Canada's health services 'system', that this country does not have a well-developed health information system in place to support the effective operation of our most highly treasured and single most expensive social program. We believe that this glaring deficiency is not due to a flaw in our thinking about information systems but to a flaw in our thinking about the nature of healthcare. We have to ask ourselves a fundamental question, What role do information and information systems play in healthcare?
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