Monday, July 26, 2010

Frost and Sullivan Seem Pretty Confused About The State, History and Prospects for Australian E-Health.

The following press release appeared a few days ago.

Frost & Sullivan Records Strong Growth Potential Within Australian Health IT Industry

SINGAPORE, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Keen interest from the Australian government towards eHealth initiatives is one of the major drivers of ensuring a double digit Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.15% from 2009 to 2014 for the Health IT market.

Frost & Sullivan reported that the USD 525million revenue achieved in 2009 for the Health IT market is forecasted to increase by another USD 333million by 2014. This marks a 38% rise in revenue, primarily resulting from various national and state funded initiatives promoting the implementation of a National E-Health System.

Dr. Pawel Suwinski, Director, Frost & Sullivan commented that this growth projection for the Australian Health IT market is mostly attributed to the strong commitment by the central government towards creating a national healthcare information highway promoting safer, efficient, and more equitable care through seamless health information exchange (HIE). As part of the initiative, in 2005, the National E-health Transition Authority (NeHTA) was established to map-out the most suitable strategy plan for the implementation of countrywide e-health infrastructure and services. In the following 3 years, under NeHTA direction, several studies have been conducted to identify the complexity of processes, information pathways, and interdependencies between different participants within the healthcare services industry, and in December 2008 the National E-Health Strategy has been formulated to guide the consolidated effort of Commonwealth, States, and the Regions.

NeHTA's main objective is not only to develop a strategic plan for the e-health system, but also to oversee the implementation of various programmes to ensure that by 2012 Australia would have the necessary foundation for integrated e-health services that includes a priority plan of e-health solutions deployment, training support, and governance of e-health usage.

Moving in that direction, the Australian state governments are actively campaigning for a technological evolution within the local healthcare system. State wide campaigns such as the 'careconnect.sa' web portal developed by South Australia will be amongst the first of an integrated state wide electronic health record system. The portal was designed with the intention of establishing a one-stop personal web based entry-point portal to store and access patient health information. The careconnect.sa campaign will cost South Australia USD 315million in development funds and will most likely finish its implementation by 2017.

Western Australia has also invested USD 300million to develop their own version of Health IT infrastructure. The 'ehealthWA' program was created to link valuable information across multiple platforms including pharmacy, patient administration system (PAS), clinical information system (CIS) and notification and clinical summaries (NaCS) across the state.

"The e-health initiative has recently received a much needed boost in the form of AUD 466.7million budget commitment (passed on 11/05/2010) for the next 2 years to support plans for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system developed to promote health information exchange between different stakeholders responsible for care management and delivery within the entire healthcare value chain. It is estimated that this investment could generate AUD 7.6billion of benefits annually by the year 2020 as reported by Booz & Company, more than 65% would be achieved by eradicating medical errors and complying to best practices – enhancing quality. It is therefore obvious that seeing through the initial investment is the most important task as many healthcare IT initiatives are plagued with failures resulting from poor management and lack of commitment and involvement by the major stakeholders. Judging from the current progress, Australia is wading exceptionally well through all the pitfalls of nationally launched IT initiatives, and the passing by Parliament on 24th June the Healthcare Identifiers Services bill is keeping up the momentum in the right direction," says Suwinski.

Lots more here:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/frost--sullivan-records-strong-growth-potential-within-australian-health-it-industry-98986304.html

At the bottom we have this:

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best-practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from 40 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit http://www.frost.com.

----- End Extract

I wondered just what a “Growth Partnership Company” was after all this and so found this:

Growth Partnership Service: Healthcare and Life Sciences IT

The Healthcare & Life Sciences IT Growth Partnership Services program combines our range of services, global perspective, and comprehensive market coverage to provide the tools that empower our clients to achieve their growth objectives. Through this program clients receive a continuous flow of market, technical, and econometric information, along with interactive applications (our TEAM methodology) focused specifically on growth. A sample list of our market coverage includes Medical Care Providers, Managed Care Services, Consumer-based Healthcare, Clinical Solutions, Business Solutions, and Healthcare Outsourcing.

Last update : 24 Jul 2010

See more here

http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/svcg.pag/HCHL

So now I know. This is a market research wanting to have you as a client and this is a ‘teaser’ release to show you just how clever and well informed they are!

They also like to work globally as you can see and I have to say the press releases are endlessly optimistic.

Frost & Sullivan: Finding Healthcare’s ‘Holy Grail’ – HIT Shape’s Up Patient Care System

SINGAPORE, July 5, 2010 / WorldPRLine / — Faced with escalating treatment costs and pressure to be affordable while searching for efficiency and better quality, hospitals are turning towards Health IT (HIT) for assistance where patient care is no longer the sole responsibility of doctors and nurses alone.

Dr. Pawel Suwinski, Principal Consultant, Healthcare Practice, Frost & Sullivan commented that the total recorded revenue of Health IT from Asia Pacific in 2009 reached an astounding USD 7.1 billion. The sum is a near 15% contribution to the total revenue figure for the industry globally.

“With an estimated steady growth of 11.3% CAGR (2009 – 2012) and an estimated leap to USD 10 billion revenue by 2012, it will come as no surprise that a majority of healthcare providers in the APAC region indicated that they are likely to keep their IT budgets intact, if not increased, despite going through a difficult recession in 2009,” says Suwinski.

Following a research conducted by Frost & Sullivan on 40 CIO/CFO’s from leading hospitals around the APAC region, 80% reported that they are looking at retaining or increasing their hospital’s IT budget for the year.

Healthcare IT forms a pivotal role in today’s healthcare system and it extends beyond mere information capturing, storing, and management. Being able to access the relevant information at the point of care – on the go – as well as interpret the many patient’s stored medical data enables medical professionals to take the best course of action on both clinical and management level.

The healthcare industry is still lagging behind other industries in the adoption of information technologies. At present, the gap stands at about 5 to 10 years, depending on products and technologies, but it is shrinking fast as HIT adoption and growth rates are outperforming other industries.

Improving quality of care, enhancing patient safety, and increasing patient satisfaction, while drastically reducing medical errors and administration burden has become an important criteria to most hospitals. This is made possible with the induction of Health IT systems in the healthcare delivery environment.

Technologies such as the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are meant to accurately capture patient information to be shared with each member of the hospital team. Beyond that, EMR systems link different healthcare industry stakeholders by enabling seamless flow of patients’ medical records from different healthcare providers, as well as pertinent insurance and billing information. Medical errors due to illegible notes written by physicians during patient charting are also drastically reduced with implementation of EMR systems.

Suwinski comments, “Although Asia Pacific countries may be slow adopters in Health IT, they are beginning to realize that in order to compete with their western counterparts strategically, they will need to step up their IT integration to clinical care.” Countries such as Japan and Korea have spent a total of USD 299 million and USD 56 million respectively on EMR systems within their hospitals.

More here:

http://www.worldprline.com/2010/07/05/frost-sullivan-finding-healthcares-holy-grail-hit-shapes-up-patient-care-system/

Well before you sign up for their doubtlessly expensive services consider these two paragraphs.

“Dr. Pawel Suwinski, Director, Frost & Sullivan commented that this growth projection for the Australian Health IT market is mostly attributed to the strong commitment by the central government towards creating a national healthcare information highway promoting safer, efficient, and more equitable care through seamless health information exchange (HIE). As part of the initiative, in 2005, the National E-health Transition Authority (NeHTA) was established to map-out the most suitable strategy plan for the implementation of countrywide e-health infrastructure and services. In the following 3 years, under NeHTA direction, several studies have been conducted to identify the complexity of processes, information pathways, and interdependencies between different participants within the healthcare services industry, and in December 2008 the National E-Health Strategy has been formulated to guide the consolidated effort of Commonwealth, States, and the Regions.

NeHTA's main objective is not only to develop a strategic plan for the e-health system, but also to oversee the implementation of various programmes to ensure that by 2012 Australia would have the necessary foundation for integrated e-health services that includes a priority plan of e-health solutions deployment, training support, and governance of e-health usage.”

If this is the quality of their research then I don’t plan to pay.

The facts are that NEHTA was never intended to be a planning organisation, did not have much at all to do with the development of the National E-Health Strategy by Deloittes and certainly does not have the main objective of developing a “a strategic plan for the e-health system”

Close reading will find just an endless litany of ‘not quite right’ statements

This is a ripper.

“Statewide implementation of electronic health records also presents major opportunities for business expansion. State e-health programs such as 'Healthelink' by New South Wales and the government's commitment towards developing the right technology necessary to deliver the best e-health system will accelerate the growth in this segment. In 2010, the market size is expected to be approximately USD 45million with a high 17.3 CAGR.”

Checking today the HealtheLink program looks to have died. Apparently no patients have been enrolled since November 2009 and there are no announcements of extension beyond a pilot.

I assume what they are actually talking about is the Cerner EMR implementations – which have also not been a totally unqualified success and anyway is largely complete. Hard to see exciting revenue growth from there!

See here:

http://www.healthelink.nsw.gov.au/

Front page last updated 11 February 2009

If this was going anywhere we would know by now – since the evaluation of the pilot ended in September 2008.

See here:

http://www.healthelink.nsw.gov.au/evaluation

Report here:

http://www.healthelink.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/67333/Evaluation_of_Healthelink_Pilot_Summary_Report_3566534_1Client-Job.PDF

Sorry guys you just don’t cut the mustard as far as knowledge of Australian Health IT is concerned. Sorry also to those NEHTA boosters who think this supports their case of unalloyed excitement and optimism. It’s rubbish in my view!

David.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

F&S have always presented crap reports and their global health IT awards program is also a joke.

Anonymous said...

Hi David,
Great job with my article with most commentaries bent to suit the cause.
Believe me, there is hardly an IT project that either was successful or followed original plan, especially on national scale and criticizing is the easiest and cheapest thing to do.
I have the impression that your standpoint is somewhat disconnected from the global perspective, which when applied could prove Australian efforts, as erratic as may seem to you, still more effective than most countries struggling with the same. No one has the license for truth that is why - “Errare humanum est”.
Would be nice to have follow-up on this engaging discussion,
Pawel

Dr David More MB, PhD, FACHI said...

Pawel,

Actually spend some time in Australia, and research on the ground what is happening and you may find your 'helicopter view' lacks credibility.

If you are suggesting - in Latin - I have got it wrong - feel free to speak to the AMA and the MISA.

Get over it - you are dead wrong on where E-Health is in Australia!

David.

Anonymous said...

Hi David,
The Latin was simply used to say that we all are prone to mistakes, but it was not used in any particular instance, perhaps more as an excuse for NeHTA.
Was I sounding so eulogistic towards Australia E-Health? Or NeHTA?
It was just acknowledgement of political commitment to a just but difficult cause; nothing more or nothing less. I tried not to be judgmental on how the money might be spent and whether there is an appropriate infrastructure to carry on all the promises and plans as these are bound to be very subjective views that might not always be aligned with the official company position I am representing.
I was involved in 2 national telehealth projects and they failed simply because of withering support from the authorities and political “godfathers” drowning millions of taxpayers’ money. So in this respect, I can see that Australia is faring better than others and I thought of giving it a “gentle pat on a back” as an encouragement. What I missed is that the initiative has very strongly polarized audience (did not catch it in my interviews), which can be good thing if exercised in a constructive manner.
I do not mind making your opinions and views as part of a follow up article, so let me know if you would be interested.
Best regards,
Pawel

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to get Dave's track record of success in national eHealth DELIVERY to put some context around that follow up article.

Lot of one eye'd opinion on this blog as you can see the tone in the mission statement...

"lamentable state of e-Health in Australia"

Given that, you like anyone else that see's progress in the larger global context will be attacked rather than engaged in a rational discord. (yes we have some small minded individuals down here in OZ)

Thanks for showing interest in Australia's ehealth agenda.

Dr David More MB, PhD, FACHI said...

Pawel,

The major issue in Australia is the lack of effective national leadership and co-ordination that can ensure what is being done is effective, planned, value for money and needed. It it pretty much as simple as that.

David.

Anonymous said...

David,
Criticism is easy, but give some constructive advice if you are an SME in this space, not just a bitter, critical observer on the side lines.

Dr David More MB, PhD, FACHI said...

Were I an SME in the e-Health space in Australia my thrust would be to push for improved leadership and governance in the sector that would allow all the players to have confidence about what the forward directions are and where I would fit in the national effort.

The details obviously rely on what part the SME plays in the bigger picture.

David.

Anonymous said...

So you offer commentary on a topic you are not an expert in? You state in one of the objectives of this blog that you would like to foster improvement. Which sounds like you are wanting to make a positive contribution. This blog needs some balance, give us some positives; some recommendations to better the current state of affairs.

Dr David More MB, PhD, FACHI said...

Easy! All that is needed is to actually fund and implement the National E-Health Strategy as agreed by the Council of Australian Governments 18 months or so ago. It is all there and would make a huge difference.

Download from the NEHTA web site if you want a copy.

What annoys me is that neither side is committing and so we are like a rudderless ship.

I can't convince the politicians to get on with it on my own, but I can point out there is a reasonable way forward that is being ignored. One side wants to spend a third of what is needed on things it won't even explain and the other does not want that but won't say what it would do so far.

So how much more positive do you want? There is a plan let's stop messing about and get on with it!

David.

Anonymous said...

Not just rudderless, but Rudless! Sorry couldn't resist.

Well, there are many good things happening on the ground in eHealth, some you report on, some you don't. But we are doing our best with what we have and don't forget, much of this is unchartered territory, all over the world. We are getting on with it, it's just far more complex than anyone realises.

Dr David More MB, PhD, FACHI said...

2 Comments:

1. No one more than I recognises just how complex this all is - I hope the blog reflects that uncertainty and complexity.

2. An e-mail alerting me to good things happening will wind up getting coverage!

David.

Anonymous said...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 1:30:00 PM said "We are getting on with it, it's just far more complex than anyone realises."

That is just plain wrong. It's the height of arrogance and self centredness to suggest it's far more complex than anyone realises.

Yes it is very very complex. Yes, quite a number of competent individuals know that and have recognized that for many years. The problem is that the bureaucrats and fast talking incompetents (who whilst lacking depth of experience and insight into the problem) are the ones who have control of the funds and they are the ones in control, they are the ones who know best, they are the ones who do not and will not listen to anyone who doesn't agree with them. Therein lies the problem.