Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ms Roxon Got This One Badly Wrong! Over To The New Minister To Fix It.

Again we have some new stuff being sort of slipped in at the last minute on the PCEHR.

E-Health vetting plan abandoned

THE Gillard government has abandoned any intention of creating an independent oversight body for the future operation of its controversial personally controlled e-health record system, due to launch on July 1.
Instead, the official operator of the $500m nationwide network will be the Secretary of the federal Health Department – mooted in legislation currently before parliament as an interim position until key governance issues can be resolved, including greater public accountability.
A broad range of bodies, including the Consumers Health Forum, the Australian Privacy Foundation, the Pharmacy Guild, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, the Medical Software Industry Association and individual vendors have called for the establishment of a broad-based new PCEHR governance structure.
But in an addendum to the PCEHR Concept of Operations issued late Wednesday, Health says the departmental secretary will take on the role permanently, with a small caveat that “another body established by a law of the Commonwealth may be prescribed by the regulations to be the System Operator in the future, if necessary”.
The policy previously stated that “The PCEHR system would be managed by a single System Operator under a governance model that would be defined in the future”.
Now, the department says: “Having the Secretary of the Department as the System Operator will ensure accountability and transparency of operations and coverage by commonwealth financial, data security and privacy arrangements.
“It will also allow a smooth transition from contractual governance arrangements established for the system build, and the ability to coordinate the necessary jurisdictional and stakeholder involvement.”
The operator will be aided by a Jurisdictional Advisory Committee, comprising one representative from each of the federal, state and territory health departments, and an Independent Advisory Council which includes healthcare provider, consumer and other sector stakeholder representatives, although observers have previously noted the operator is not obliged to heed any advice from either source.
Lots more here:
Since this article was published (early Friday 20th Jan) we have also seen similar governance issues raised by:
1. The Aboriginal Medical Service Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT)
2. The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)
3. The Royal Australian and NZ College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP)
4. The Australian Psychological Society (APS).
They have also added their voice to the demands for much improved and legislated (for certainty) governance of the PCEHR System.
The issue is pretty clear to me. There is an obvious conflict of interest between the Secretary as System Operator and as the Head of DoHA the moment a citizen complains to DoHA regarding some issue with the PCEHR. This simply cannot be the same person. And whoever it turns out to be needs a proper framework in which to decide and act etc.
The outcome of and response to this consistent set of recommendations and concerns will be a very reliable litmus test of just how much actual consultative listening is going on in DoHA. Watch this space very closely.
Other than this theme (and a certain amount of rent-seeking from the Pharmacy Guild - who want it to be easier to get hold of the money for e-prescription use) the other interesting requests are to expand to pool of those who can manage / contribute to a PCEHR. The midwives, pharmacists and aboriginal health workers are all keen!
We also have widely raised concerns about cost impacts - and at the time of writing we have yet to hear from the AMA who I am sure will have something to say on that matter!
There is a lot of work to be done to get this system back on the rails. I hope the new Minister has had a look at a few of the submissions over the break!
Note: In late breaking news there are rumours of some issues with the PCEHR Program plans and design. Might also keep the Minister a little busy next week? My sources are certainly suggesting some problems are emerging.
David.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

as they used to say in the olden days, its all best kept under the bed!!