This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Why Has This Just Not Been Done After Six Years of Trying? It Is Just A Joke!
The following report appeared in the Australian very recently.
HEALTH Purchasing Victoria will spend $2.1 million building its own database of health products and suppliers, as state governments struggle to implement the National Product Catalogue intended as a single source of data.
The NPC has been a key priority for the National e-Health Transition Authority since 2006, as all the jurisdictions recognise the costs associated with hospitals using different catalogues and non-standardised data.
NeHTA says the NPC now contains more than 210,000 items from 360 suppliers, and all of the states have been accessing data; the aim is to create a single source of product master data for medicines, medical devices and other healthcare requirements.
Victoria's auditor-general, Des Pearson, last week found the state's central health procurement agency was at least two years' away from completing its database of suppliers and purchasing data, the Victorian Product Catalogue.
"HPV struggles to get consistent and comparable data from hospitals to help identify future opportunities and plan for tenders on its annual program," Mr Pearson said.
"This problem largely stems from lack of a common product catalogue across the sector.
"Hospitals maintain separate catalogues and identify the same products in different ways, making it very difficult for HPV to get reliable data on how much is being spent in each product category.
"The lack of comparable data and standard names and products were identified as issues in 2005."
The report says HPV has been developing a VPC since 2009, in line with the state's commitment to the NPC being established by NeHTA, but had not been adequately funded for the task.
This year, it was given "in principle" approval for funding by the Health department.
"The VPC will synchronise data between the NPC and the various systems for managing catalogues, setting common, accurate product and pricing data, reducing management effort in health services and enabling broader supply chain reform," the HPV says.
"Full implementation of the VPC across the health services could occur by December 2013 and deliver savings of around $2.9 million per year."
Initial software development is estimated to cost $600,000 in year one, rising to $950,000 a year, from year three onwards; software licensing costs are an estimated $100,000 annually.
One really can only one question on all this. Why, when there is actual demonstrable money to be saved, can’t NEHTA and the various State Jurisdictions just get this work done and operational. I have been hearing about this being needed since the late 1980’s. I wonder who is paying whom to prevent this happening and the savings being realised. It can hardly be incompetence that extends over a 30 year period - it has to be something else - plain old corruption maybe?
It must be that the suppliers clearly do not want it to happen, for their own profit motives, and that somehow they have caused it not to happen and pricing arbitrage remains alive and well for their benefit!