Sunday, August 29, 2010

There is a Small Window For Sanity in E-Health as We Get a New Government. Maybe We Can Exploit It?

With the not entirely unexpected outcome of the recent federal election providing us with a moment or two of reflection time, it seemed to me there was a window open to maybe define a way forward that would work for all sides of politics.

If I were one of these, now rather important independents or Greens, (as both can’t govern in their own right) what would I be looking for?

First I would want to obtain acceptance that a transition to an e-Health enabled and improved health system will be neither quick and easy nor will be cost or pain free.

The evidence that we can improve the quality, safety and efficiency of our health system as well as making it more sustainable, through a planned, pragmatic, coherent deployment of e-Heath is in I believe.

Second I believe that we cannot endlessly put off serious commitment to making this transition for the whole health system, rather than just for those parts of the system that are controlled by the State health systems.

This inevitably means we need to move to a more inclusive, pragmatic form of national e-Health governance and leadership of which NEHTA is only a part.

From the blogs referenced in this post:

http://aushealthit.blogspot.com/2010/08/two-very-interesting-posts-what-does-it.html

it seems that others are also picking up that ‘business as usual’ for NEHTA is probably not appropriate going forward and that the time has come for another directional ‘transition’.

Third we really need to have a plan of how we move forward, how leadership and governance is to be provided, how engagement is to be obtained and how funding is to be provided.

Fourth we need to not only recognise the complexity of achieving an e-Health transition but also be prepared to learn from many other countries and health systems who have managed to make considerable headway from which useful lessons can be understood and adapted. This can be made to work but requires both health sector, consultative, technical and management skills!

Fifth we need to recognise that there are public concerns about the security, safety and privacy of their health information and that these concerns need not only to be allayed but clearly addressed.

Sixth, the time for technicians and government bureaucrats dreaming up plans in secret and then just ‘dropping them’ on the sector and public must surely be over. (Mr Rudd must be keenly aware just how foolish that approach is by now!). We need a new paradigm to match the new political reality in which we find ourselves.

Second last we do need to recognise that there are some good things happening around the country- and nurture them - while stamping out the silliness and obsession on the part of some who simply fail to grasp the 80/20 rule and seek perfection rather than practical useful outcomes.

Last I don’t believe we need to wait the many years for the NBN to be up and running before moving on this issue. (I almost wrote ‘moving forward (big grin!)). We already have the infrastructure we need to get started while other things evolve!

Were I the independents I would be wanting a proper detailed briefing on Health Issues (including e-Health) from both sides as well as the more high profile financial briefings and the like before making what will be pretty serious decisions.

We can only hope!

David.

2 comments:

Georgia said...

I'm curious about your point #4 - which countries would you cite as worth learning from, both in a what to do and what not to do way. I am aware of lessons we could learn from the UK system and somewhat from the US, but totally unversed in the state of play in other countries.

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

I suggest you search on the blog for Scandinavian Countries, Singapore and New Zealand. All have lots to teach as well as the UK, US and Europe.

David.