Thursday, March 29, 2012

There Are Some Very Interesting Straws In the Wind Regarding E-Health’s Future in Australia. A Pause Is Actually Happening!

I was having a close read of an interview given by Ms Jane Halton PSM - Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing and it really confirms what we heard from the Minister a day or so later.

No ehealth Big Bang: Halton

Australia won’t see an ehealth big bang once the deadline for the introduction of the personally controlled electronic healthcare record passes on July 1. “Our strategy is about demonstrating capability,” said health department secretary Jane Halton, in an exclusive interview with
According to Ms Halton, the focus immediately post July 1 will be on the existing Wave 1 and 2 sites, which were paused earlier this year due to a software specification issue.
Ms Halton said the question of whether more trial sites will be added to the Wave program is “an active debate.” She also said the health department needed to see what movement there is among the general and health communities in terms of ehealth adoption before committing more resources to further roll-outs.
The Wave sites have already enrolled close to 1.4 million people into the PCEHR, said Ms Halton.
“What we want to see is a measured and orderly approach, and if you look at what’s happened overseas you actually have quite slow adoption to begin with,” she said.
The slow roll-out, she added, will enable people to see how the system works, and to figure out if there are better or more effective ways of doing things.
Full interview (with video) is found here:
Taking these comments, along with the Minister’s, it is absolutely clear we are actually going to have a Pause in the PCEHR Program for what looks like a combination of budgetary as well as technical problems.
The Minister’s speech is here if by some mischance you missed it.
So what is now happening?
1. Work is continuing at the Wave sites to figure out what works and what doesn’t. In reality this is the Pause ‘we had to have'.
2. No firm plans to extend nationally exist. Additionally funding from now on may be a little slower in coming.
3. The system will now be rolled out over years - with people being able to register and then do largely nothing until later. (This rather reminds me of the NBN. You are out of luck until they come past your house).
4. There are a huge number of unanswered questions around the future for NEHTA in its present form (staff levels, management, mandate etc.), the various applications that have been built and also just how present private initiatives will be eventually integrated.
We have started down a new and at presently undefined path. Clarity will be needed and soon.

1 comment:

B said...


re point 4.

According to AGIMO's ICT Business Case Guide

all these questions should have been answered before the second pass business case went to Cabinet.

This raises a number of questions:
1) These questions have been answered but nobody from DoHA/NEHTA is telling.
2) These questions have not been answered, proper process has not been followed and they are winging it.

I know what it looks like to me.