The following appeared on the Croaky Health Blog a day or so ago. I will just extract the e-Health comments – and encourage people to read the full post. I agree it is a must not miss!
Kellie Bisset’s insightful analysis of election health policies (don’t miss this piece)
August 13, 2010 – 1:15 pm
In part 3 of Croakey’s election series, Kellie Bisset, the Co-Editor of Medical Observer, writes:
What a grand vision it was: to reform the health system, end the cost shifting blame game and bring about a healthier Australia.
Perhaps, after all the Labor reform rhetoric and the excitement over the possibility of real change, disappointment was inevitable.
On a positive note, we have had a vigorous Labor-led reform debate and a Government at least prepared to talk about the big picture.
But what are we left with as we head to the polls?
• Glacial progress on e-health. Yes, the Healthcare Identifiers Bill has passed the Senate but so far much of the discussion has been around the personalised electronic health record as the e-health Holy Grail. The Government has committed $466 million to develop a personally controlled health record but what about a broader policy on connectivity? Where’s the grand plan for e-health? Are we expecting personalised health records to solve all our problems and if so, is this wise? There are still many questions around how patient content and clinician content will be delineated in these records – and whether doctors will trust and use the information recorded from other clinicians.
And what of the Coalition alternative?
The major question here is whether the Coalition’s series of announcements constitutes a health policy. Where is the bigger picture? What is the main thread drawing all this together? We know what government programs they’d scrap, but what’s their vision for the future?
• The announcement that a Coalition Government would freeze the existing e-health program is astounding. Yes the $467 million saved will be spent in areas such as mental health, which is in dire need of a decent funds boost. But the care integration fostered by a functional e-health system is vital to all patients, including the mentally ill, who so often fall through the system’s cracks. Tony Abbott has in the past said e-health is a crucial piece of reform. But let’s not forget that in 2005 as Federal Health Minister he let Healthconnect lapse – the $128million plan to drive national electronic health records, replacing it with NEHTA, recently described to Medical Observer as “Never Ever Having to Achieve”.
How will we position ourselves for the future to cope with serious looming health challenges if we keep lurching from one day to the next?
The full blog is here:
I could not have said it better myself. We really do deserve better than this!