Studies examining the application of information technology to the delivery of health-care services often highlight the anticipated benefits. In consequence, the benefits of health-care information technology adoption, often referred to as 'e-health', are widely reported yet there is limited empirical evidence as to how such benefits can be realized. Design and implementation guidelines have been considered from a socio-technical perspective and there is support for the successful application of these principles. There are also some global surveys on the topic, but these often report only statistical data and lack richness of content. This study draws on existing literature to examine whether the principles of health-care information technology adoption are currently applied in practice. The paper presents a timely international analysis of the drivers, critical enablers and successful deployment strategies for e-health from the perspective of leading practitioners. The study considers the adoption of e-health in 15 countries. A qualitative research design was used and semistructured interviews were conducted with 38 thought leaders with expertise in health-care information systems and technology. The study presents a comparative analysis of the lessons learned from implementing, integrating and embedding e-health in practice, and presents a four-phase approach from the perspective of practitioners for the accelerated deployment of e-health systems: (i) develop a strategic approach, (ii) engage the workforce, (iii) capitalize on information technology and (iv) partner with the patient/citizen.