Friday, March 16, 2012

This Blog Raises Some Interesting And Challenging Questions For Australian E-Health .

The following was posted a few days ago.

Authority is given, not taken

Posted on March 9, 2012 by Grahame Grieve
Real authority is not something that you can take, that you can purchase, that you can steal. It’s something that other people give you freely of their own accord. There’s no other way to get it. It’s important to distinguish power from authority – power is only ever taken, and never given. The two things are closely related – having authority in a sub-group (i.e. the armed forces, or the engineering department) can help you acquire power in a wider sphere. Authority is better than power, because having authority means that people want to do what you tell them.
In New Zealand, where I grew up, this notion is wonderfully captured in the word “mana”, borrowed and adapted from Maori:
“mana”, taken from the Maori, refers to a person or organization of people of great personal prestige and character. Sir Edmund Hillary, is considered to have great mana both because of his accomplishments and of how he gave his life to service. Perceived egotism can diminish mana…
In Australian culture, some of the few people who have attained “mana” in general society are Sirs Don Bradman, Fred Hollows, and Weary Dunlop. Politicians are generally not eligible.
Obviously there’s all sorts of applications of this concept in society, and in politics. For instance, governments that have power without authority will eventually fall, democracy or no (the longer it takes, the more people will die as it falls).
I’m interested here in this blog on how that affects standards. And what I’ve seen is that it doesn’t matter how much power is applied to get a standard to be adopted, if the standard doesn’t have any authority, it won’t make any difference. I’m not saying that power doesn’t make a difference – it does. But power is only useful to the degree that the standard itself has authority.
Lots more here (with comments):
For what it is worth my take is that there is earned and positional authority. Positional is easy - think Prime Minister or Premiers. By virtue of their office and their elected status that have a level of authority - which can ebb or grow depending on performance. Earned authority comes from leadership, demonstrated results, good communication with stakeholders etc. ( Think successful army generals etc.).
In e-Health the lack of authority that resides in DoHA and NEHTA is made clear by the number if Health IT providers and academics who simply do not accept that NEHTA and DoHA have demonstrated the leadership and results to be given any authority. They have also done a pretty dreadful job of building trust by being open and transparent with their initiatives and really overdoing the use of slick PR in documents like the Annual Report. The one from late last year is a doozy from a glitzy spun point of view!
See here:
In a blog ages ago I raised the question of what official authority NEHTA had and had 16 comments follow.
You can browse the blog and comments here.
As I said at the time it might be the time to just ‘move on’. There are a good few in the e-health space who are just a trifle tired of being bludgeoned into submission.

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