Facilitation of e-government through more convenient access for all and providing more actual interactive services, rather than simply acting as a “one-way” disseminator of information and for downloading Government information, is a key component for better governance and facilitation of participation by the public.7
Every government department has a website now. The Government also launched a “one-stop portal,” called GovHK, in 2007. But these efforts have fallen short of the Web 2.0 trends, and is mostly simply a “one-way portal” indeed. Information are still organized in a taxonomy manner rather than folksonomy, incorporating user-generated content and relationships. Actually, many of the forms provided online are still for downloading, and citizens still have to print them out and fax or mail back in the traditional way.
There are actually much to be gained beyond operational efficiency by using Web 2.0 in e-government. Much remains to be harnessed in improving the quality and accessibility of public services, as well as achieving better governance through strong engagement with the community. For years, I have been advocating the establishment of an e-Citizen account for every citizen in Hong Kong, and recently the Government has taken up this idea, but how it will be implemented remains to be seen.
In addition, it is always my conviction that ICT must improve people's livelihood, in order for our industry and professionals to gain the respect of the whole community, and for the whole community to treasure the contribution and importance of the ICT industry. So, I have been adamant about using ICT in public services where it can make the most difference – in healthcare, transportation, and other areas.
For example, the Hospital Authority has received funding this year for the much-needed development of Clinical Management System III, and other funding for other projects like Public-Private Interface – Electronic Patient Record Sharing, and the development of a framework for the territory-wide Electronic Health Records. These are examples of important milestones for not just ICT excellence in Hong Kong, but also presents great welfare and benefits to citizens through better quality in public service.
Another example is intelligent transport, where I, along with the industry, has been working with Government to establish a task force working on the future framework for the provision of real-time transport information and dynamic navigation for the last several years, and we are nearing the first phase of the fruition the effort.
Government leadership is one of the most important ways that ICT can help each and every person in Hong Kong. I will:
* Work with the Government to establish the e-Citizen account, which in my definition should allow each user to access a personalized portal with information and subscribed services for all Government departments, which may involve payment, renewals, bookings and other Government-related transactions, according to his/her preferences and settings. * Continue to push the Government to expand the scope of the Public Affairs Forum8 for all citizens to participate in, and to implement e-petition channels for citizens to make comments and complaints of all kinds in a centralized manner, similar to the U.K.'s Petition to the Prime Minister9 web service, in facilitate e-engagement for better governance. * Work with Government to facilitate its continued investment in e-public services, including healthcare IT and intelligent transport systems, and continue to explore other areas of public services where ICT can bring the most immediate benefits, for example, food safety, public safety, etc. * Propose more resources to be allocated for the experimentation and adoption of new public and private health IT initiatives, such as wireless technologies, telemedicine, etc. in order to improve the quality of care and patient safety, but with proper safeguards on privacy and information security matters.