Monday, February 21, 2011

Is This The Second Worst Job In E-Health in Australia? Might Even Be The Worst!

The following appeared a few days ago

NSW Heath appoints CIO for e-health, IT strategies

Department aiming for health IT leadership

The NSW Department of Health has appointed Ian Rodgers as director of its new e-health and ICT strategy branch.

Rodgers has CIO-level experience in IT strategy and governance across the public and private sectors. He will start in the new role on March 30.

The new position has been advertised since November last year.

Since October 2008, Rodgers worked as an executive program director for a significant Victorian government IT project involving the replacement of IT systems and associated business transformation.

One outcome was to deliver a “best practice registration and licensing service across a number of large government agencies for a broad range of licences and registration functions”, according to NSW Health.

The agencies involved included VicRoads, Victoria Police, Victorian Taxi Directorate, Marine Safety Victoria, and the State Revenue Office.

Prior to this role, Rodgers was CIO at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne from 2004 to 2008 and CIO, general manager of network operations and COO at Primus Telecommunications from 1998 to 2004.

Rodgers spent 20 years with the Australian Defence Force (Army) and six years as general manager of IT with Tenix and Transfield before joining Primus.

According to NSW Health, Rodgers is “very much looking forward” to returning to health and he will play a key role in strengthening the department’s “e-health and ICT strategy and governance to position NSW Health at the forefront of health IT in Australia”.

In 2009 the NSW government committed $100 million over two years to the development of an e-health system to replace paper-based health records.

The NSW Healthelink project, which began about seven years ago was well received by clinicians.

More here:

In case you are wondering I reckon the worst job is to be the CIO of DoHA, mainly because of the inevitable political interference and deadlines that will have be to handled.

The other aspect, of course, of that job would be handling that rogue company that seems to think it knows all about e-Health Strategy and Approaches in the absence of a clear governance framework as to just who is responsible for what an accountable to whom!

NSW Health also, of course has a few challenges. Among them are probably how to gracefully close down Healthelink without anyone noticing as well as to actually get round to organising a clear-eyed assessment as to how e-Health has travelled in the last decade and what lessons have been learnt.

It seems to me astonishing that the implementations of all those systems in all those public hospitals have not been the subject of a public review.

Of course the other major challenge will be to start work just 4 days after the NSW Election when there will certainly be a new Health Minister.

She (Ms Skinner) will certainly be wanting to clean house and sweep away all the rubbish so she can start with as cleaner slate as possible. If I was in NSW in Health IT I would be looking forward to some very ‘interesting times’!



Anonymous said...

David with all due respect I think you are suffering from a bit of premature schadenfreude here. Compared to HealthSmart the NSW programs have made huge progress. Why would the Libs kill them off? To start again? With what exactly?

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

NSW Health's E-Health is very much a curate's egg in my view. Healthelink is a disaster for example but elsewhere there has been some progress. Just how much progress has of course not been publicly reviewed in a decade as far as I know.

Taking stock would be a good first step in my view.


Anonymous said...

Monday, February 21, 2011 10:23:00 PM said "Why would the Libs kill them off? To start again? With what exactly?"

Starting again is not an option because once IT becomes embedded, no matter how crappy the solution, it is difficult to turn off and start again. The same applies anywhere, UK, Victoria, NSW. It is this principle fact that allows vendors, consultants and bureaucrats, to get away with all manner of incompetent performance.

David's suggestion that a review is needed before progressing further is also problematic because 99 percent of the time the review is undertaken by self-serving individuals who have a vested interest in the project and are intent on justifying their existence and defending their past mistakes.

This makes it very difficult for any Health Minister to get unbiased advice which is given without fear or favour and untainted by the political expediencies to put a 'good spin' on the assessment report.

Yet, unless this is done progress will not be made and the mistakes of the past will continue to be repeated all over again at great cost to us taxpayers.

It is the same dilemma everywhere no matter what the project NEHTA, HealthSmart, Healthelink - the only difference is the location of each project and the political party responsible for perpetuating the status quo.

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

Hi Anon Tuesday, February 22, 2011 10:40:00 AM.

Easy one. What would you do?

As I said somethings have worked and need to be extended / completed and others new options found or canceled.

I am sure there is one honest advisor in the world who could help?


Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with you David. But how does one get the good honest advisors as you describe them to help sort out the mess? Are you, for example, available?

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

No way, this is a job for someone who can come to the task genuinely without any history or baggage. I worked there in the 1990's so might be seen as biased etc.

Someone pretty senior and with the right expertise (clinical, technical and consulting) from another State or OS would be ideal.