Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MyHospitals Web Site - Why Does Everything Wind Up Being So Contested?

Well we now have the media reaction to the Myhospitals web site. It seems the reviews are a bit mixed.

We have this:

Hospitals website hits early strife

  • Adam Cresswell, Health editor
  • From: The Australian
  • December 11, 2010 12:00AM

THE long-awaited MyHospitals website, allowing easier comparisons of waiting times against national benchmarks, is embroiled in controversy.

Within hours of it going live, there were claims its data was too old to be useful and the states had sought to hamstring the project.

The site, which allows public viewing of the waiting times for public and private hospitals in areas such as orthopedic surgery and emergency departments, partly delivers on Labor's 2007 election pledge to improve the reporting of hospital data.

But the figures relate to the financial year that ended in June, and permit only at-a-glance comparisons with the national average, not with other hospitals. And there are no figures on infection rates or other adverse events that Labor promised in 2008.

There are suggestions the government and bureaucracy disagree on the purpose of the new site, after federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said yesterday it would be a "very valuable tool" that would assist patients to choose which hospital to visit.

Ms Roxon said the new site "helps the public if they're making a choice, if they've been waiting on a waiting list for elective surgery to be able to look at a hospital that might be near a carer who's going to look after them after their surgery".

However, when asked if the data would be too old to be useful, Penny Allbon, director of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, which runs the site, said that was not its purpose.

"The data is not intended to be real-time," Dr Allbon said.

and here:

MyHospitals website goes live despite data concerns

  • By staff writers
  • From: news.com.au
  • December 10, 2010 4:07PM
  • MyHospitals website goes live
  • Data on nearly 1000 hospitals available
  • Hospital-to-hospital comparison difficult

FEDERAL Opposition Health spokesman Peter Dutton has released an email that he claims shows the Federal Government's new MyHospitals website is unreliable and inaccurate.

The MyHospitals website contains data such as waiting lists, bed numbers and specialist services for more than 900 Australian hospitals.

Mr Dutton cited an email written by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) director Penny Allbon in which she pointed out flaws in the data and indicated it could not be relied upon.

He released the email from Dr Allbon to Government officials dated July 27.

It outlines the New South Wales Government's concerns that data would be out of date by the time it reached the website, and the state's view that staff numbers and outpatient numbers should not be included in the data.

"Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria all share this position," she writes, before signing off, "Ho hum".

Mr Dutton said in Brisbane today that Health Minister Nicola Roxon must guarantee the website's accuracy.

"She can't guarantee this data is relevant, that it's timely, and that it's accurate," he said.

"Ms Roxon needs to answer these serious allegations from what is an explosive email."

But Dr Allbon said the data issues mentioned in the leaked email have all been resolved on the website that went live.

…..

'MyHospitals data manipulated'

Victorian Health Minister David Davis also raised concerns about the site before its launch today, stating some information may have been manipulated by the state's previous Labor government.

"The Victorian auditor-general has pointed directly to data manipulation occurring in key public hospitals ... so the overall quality of the data is questionable," he told ABC Radio.

But Ms Roxon said the Commonwealth had checks and balances in place to ensure the website's data was reliable.

"The material has been provided by each state and territory but it has been checked and rechecked by the Institute of Health and Welfare, an independent and very credible body," she said.

Lots more here

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/hospitals-website-hits-early-strife/story-fn59niix-1225969194016

And here

Hospitals data site under fire

Julia Medew

December 11, 2010

THE Gillard government's MyHospitals website has been savaged on its first day, with allegations of old data that does not paint a true picture of hospitals' performance.

The site, launched by Health Minister Nicola Roxon yesterday, is meant to compare emergency department and elective surgery care in 769 public and 153 private hospitals across the country.

But within hours of going live, it was attacked by doctors, hospitals and Victoria's new Health Minister David Davis, who said it had inaccuracies.

While the site makes it difficult to compare states and territories, it showed Victorian hospitals performed well on emergency department care for the sickest patients against the national average.

However, in many cases, Victorians waited much longer than the national median times for elective surgery procedures, including heart, lung and brain operations.

Mr Davis said the data was unreliable because of ongoing allegations of fraudulent reporting in Victorian hospitals - a problem he has promised to crack down on. ''We know the data has been deficient [in Victoria] and that has formed the basis of what's gone on to the federal website,'' he said.

More here

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/hospitals-data-site-under-fire-20101210-18svd.html

and last (there are many more)

Questions raised over My Hospital

Information on a new federal government website comparing hospital performance has been criticised as inaccurate, just hours before its launch on Friday.

  • AAP (Computerworld)
  • 10 December, 2010 10:30

Information on a new Federal Government website comparing hospital performance has been criticised as inaccurate, just hours before its launch on Friday.

My Hospital will compare hospital performance to national average waiting times for elective surgery and emergency department care, list the medical services provided, bed numbers and whether outpatient services are available.

The website - developed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - will cover all public hospitals at first.

However, the Victorian Health Minister, David Davis, has raised concerns some information on My Hospital may have been manipulated by the state's previous Labor government.

"The Victorian auditor-general has pointed directly to data manipulation occurring in key public hospitals ... so the overall quality of the data is questionable," he told ABC Radio on Friday.

Federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, said the commonwealth had checks and balances in place to ensure the data was reliable.

"The material has been provided by each state and territory but it has been checked and rechecked by the Institute of Health and Welfare, an independent and very credible body," she said.

Roxon will launch My Hospital in Melbourne, with the website to go live from 11am (AEDT).

Consumer Health Forum of Australia chief executive, Carol Bennett, welcomed the initiative.

"Over time, transparency drives better performance and I think this is a fantastic step forward."

More here:

http://www.techworld.com.au/article/370885/questions_raised_over_my_hospital/

There is a bit to be said about all this.

First Mr Dutton just needs to relax. No minister can guarantee the accuracy of what they are given by State Governments - so his comments are just hollow rhetoric.

Second comments about looking up the site in an emergency are obviously rubbish. In an emergency you dial ‘000’ and wait for the ambulance to take you to hospital!

Third it is clear the basic idea is a good one. It is just that it has hardly been pushed to deliver yet!

If you want to get a feel for how it can be done a whole lot better and in more depth go here:

http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/

Just amazing richness of safety, and quality information including re-admission rates by disease and patient satisfaction survey results. A whole different world!

Equally in the UK a dramatically better effort. See here:

http://www.drfosterhealth.co.uk/hospital-guide/

As I said a day or so ago, just a start!

David.

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