Monday, September 12, 2011

The Health Minister Is Not For Turning - The PCEHR Will Go Ahead Essentially Unchanged. What a Shame!


The following articles appeared this morning and - as noted in the previous blog - the Revised PCEHR Concept of Operations is being released today.

Nicola Roxon to unveil e-health blueprint

HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon will today unveil an updated blueprint for the nation's $500 million electronic health records program.
"This is a big step forward for e-health," she will tell guests at the opening of a model health display on show in Parliament House this week.
"The finalised Concept of Operations will be used by our infrastructure partners to build the system, and allow Australians to sign up for a personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) from July next year."
Last month, the government signed a $77m contract with an Accenture-led consortium to build and test the national IT infrastructure before the end of June, to meet the minister's political deadline.
The Canberra roadshow is intended to demonstrate the power of e-health technologies to improve patient care and support health reform measures.
"Within a decade, our strategic broadband and e-health investments will be delivering the full power of smart health technologies across Australia, helping people live healthier lives," Ms Roxon says.
"It will help us save lives and save money."
Ms Roxon says more than 1.1 million individual healthcare identifiers are already in use across Australia in the three sites leading the implementation of the PCEHR program.
More here:
The second and deeper coverage is here:

Issues still to be resolved on e-health records program

THE revised concept of operations for the Gillard government's $500 million e-health records program fleshes out some details but many of the ticklish issues around funding, governance and medico liability remain "out of scope".
Consultations threw up concerns that as yet, there are no arrangements for long-term management of the personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) program and related services, that there is no ongoing funding beyond its July 1 startup date, and that there is no money on the table to compensate doctors for the creation and maintenance of uploaded patient information.
Nor has the question of funding for software and systems upgrades, and integration, been addressed.
Also out of scope are the crucial enabling laws and regulatory details - a separate public consultation over a legal issues paper has closed, but the government is yet to respond to the matters raised - including sanctions for disclosure of sensitive material.
Nevertheless, Health Minister Nicola Roxon will release the revamped blueprint in Canberra today, where a model healthcare display has been set up in Parliament House to showcase the power of new technologies in improving patient care and supporting reform measures.
"This is a big step forward for e-health," she will tell guests. "The finalised concept will be used by our infrastructure partners to build the system, and allow Australians to sign up for a PCEHR from July next year."
Last month, the government sealed a $77m contract with an Accenture-led consortium to build and test the national IT infrastructure before the end of June; the same team is delivering Singapore's $146m electronic patient records system for doctors caring for the nation's four million people.
But Accenture's local project boss, Brad Cable, says Australia will not get a "cookie cutter copy" of the Singaporean system, due to the different approach demanded by the patient control aspects.
While the latest document includes "refinements" to the original draft following consultations, the overall design and operational concept are largely unchanged.
The PCEHR will be voluntary for both patients and medical providers, who will have to opt-in to the system if they wish to participate; the personal record will not replace doctors' own patient records; a national repository will hold a basic shared health summary, some agreed uploaded documents, and patients' own notes.
An indexing system will allow document searches across "a distributed system of public and private sector providers working in concert", with the government insisting it is not creating a "single government store of personal health information".
Essentially, the system will provide a document viewing service, which patients and medical professionals can access through separate web portals.
The government has decided to tighten up on registration and online authentication processes through the creation of a new proof of record ownership service.
Lots more here:
I received the revised copy yesterday and this coverage is spot on. Essentially there has been no substantive change from the Draft ConOps that was delivered in April.
A missed opportunity and really a disaster for Australian e-Health in my view. The number of issues which remain unresolved is very large and each is very important, suggesting to me they don’t know what they are doing.
David.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Essentially there has been no substantive change from the Draft ConOps that was delivered in April."

As I have so often stated on this blog and it needs to be repeated here once again:

The prime purpose in holding consultation sessions and calling for submissions is to make everyone feel they have been involved in the development cycle.

The secondary role is to give the developers the option of including some ideas if they understand them, if they think it worth their while, and if it is not too onerous for them.

But first and foremost to provide comfort to all that what they are getting is the result of their input.

A great big confidence trick and an enormous waste of everyone's time, money and resources leading, as in the UK, to the big-bang=big-crash approach and a waste of billions of pounds / dollars.

Anonymous said...

They are doing to eHealth what the financial gurus have done for banking in the last decade. Its all spin and unrealistic promises, with a large dose of PR money to give it some gloss.

Under the hood however its a Datsun 120Y with a few 100,000 miles on the clock. The safety and performance characteristics will probably be similar to that.

Like any Ponzi Scheme however it will end in tears, once all the fools are signed up. This is really reckless spending in a time of a global recession and great uncertainty. The return on this half a billion will be negative, what a waste.