Sunday, April 14, 2013

Government Desperation With Uptake Of The NEHRS Is Reaching Fever Pitch. I Think It Is A Doomed Effort and Waste of Money.

The following appeared earlier today.

Outrage as eHealth record sign-up squads hit Australian hospital patients in bid to boost numbers

  • Sue Dunlevy
  • News Limited Network
  • April 14, 2013 12:00AM
BUREAUCRATS armed with clipboards have been sent into hospitals and nursing homes to cajole patients to sign up for an eHealth record their doctors still won't be able to use.
Nine months after it was launched, the Government's $1 billion eHealth system holds just 414 patient records and is only a fifth of the way towards its target of signing up 500,000 patient users by June 30.
There are currently only two hospitals using the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system and they have uploaded just 155 discharge summaries.
And the system remains barely operational because fewer than one per cent of doctors have signed up for the Healthcare Identifier service number they need to be able to access patient records.
Despite this, Canberra has sent out a sign-up squad in a bid to boost numbers.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said around 12 specially trained staff had been deployed in hospitals, community clinics and aged care homes in Tasmania and the ACT to sign patients up to the scheme.
The move has caused outrage on health IT blogs with experts worried about the security of signing a patient up on paper and then re-entering the data online.
Launceston Hospital's Professor Terry Hannan, who set up an eHealth record for HIV patients in Africa that was nominated for the Nobel Prize, said patients in his hospital were being asked to hand over their Medicare cards and drivers licence to get an e-health record.
"Personally I have a lot of difficulty with this data collection process - not only from patient data security but the real risk of transcription errors in the data recording," he said on the Australian Health Information Technology blog.
"This whole process seems like seems like a political stunt to enhance the PCEHR registration numbers for a project that has been costly and doomed to failure - implementation wise and politically."
More here:
I can understand e-Health awareness campaigns and providing support for the enrolment when people ask for it. But approaching people who are almost certainly not interested when they are ill in hospital - or even worse corralling unsuspecting and unfortunate public servants - is really over the top as well as being privacy invasive etc.
I have expanded on this a little here:
If you want to see how patient portals should be deployed - and not how the NEHRS / PCEHR is actually doing it - see here:

Patient Portals Resource Center

Online portals allow patients to interact with their health information and communicate with providers outside the traditional office visit. Such systems offer powerful benefits: encouraging patients to become more engaged in their own care and helping providers to improve efficiency, quality, and access.
However integrating a portal into a clinical practice is not easy. The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) has worked with early adopters to capture key lessons learned, as well as tools and resources to help guide other safety-net clinics considering their own patient portals.
Lots more with 2 useful video.
It is interesting to see people using such systems both mobile and on their PC’s at home and how happy they are with what they can do.
The message is actually pretty simple. If the NEHRS/PCEHR actually did what people value and want it would be adopted - until then it will just remain a white elephant - people running around in white tee-shirts or not .
David.

2 comments:

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

The objective of the PCEHR is to save the Federal Government money. It is not designed to improve the health of most Australian, who are neither patients, nor particularly concerned with how the government spends its money.

For most people in Australia it is a non-event, has no value and is not part of their decision making process in the upcoming election.

The PCEHR is a white elephant. If any government tries to kill the PCEHR, the opposition, of either colour, will accuse the government, of the other colour, of not being serious about health.

IMHO, considering the amount that has been spent already, the PCEHR will be put into a low level maintenance mode and the hope will be that take-up, over a very long period, will justify its implementation. I just hope that the system has been constructed in such a way that operation and maintenance is not expensive.

This would justify its implementation as infrastructure - an enabler of long term change. Unfortunately there are two major issues. The first that it's an IT infrastructure, not an eHealth infrastructure. The second is that there are wildly silly predictions for its uptake and cost savings.

Anonymous said...

This was stated as self-evident from the get-go by external and internal parties believe it or not!

Problem is, the decision makers and unaccountable purse-string holders have their degree of influence only eclipsed by the magnitude of their denial. This is exacerbated and only compounded by handsomely paid Consultants towing this misguided line at more taxpayers expense.

White Elephant or not, and previously stated here as Australia's eHealth Millennium Dome, not a sorry soul will pay the justifiably hefty price for the immeasurable opportunity and direct cost this PCEHR wet dream has caused to the Nation's healthcare sector!

The Health Ministers of both stripes will unfortunately see to that!