Sunday, July 06, 2014

I Find This A Really Scary Set Of Comments From The New NEHTA Chair. We Need An E-Health ReBoot And Soon.

This appeared a few days ago.

Hambleton explains his e-health vision

3 July, 2014
It’s a seamless computer system that keeps Australian doctors and hospitals up to date about all their patients’ test results and all the medicines they are taking, in real-time with little effort on their part.
“We will get the ability to minimise unwarranted clinical variations. We will be able to securely share information with and about our patients,” says Dr Hambleton, who has accepted an appointment to replace David Gonski as chair of the ­National E-Health Transition Authority.
The concept is little more than expensive science fiction at present, having cost taxpayers $1 billion with little to show for the money.
But the foundation is there - a system to assign a unique patient number to every Australian, common terminology for medicines and an agreed nomenclature for disease description.
Dr Hambleton is up for the challenge, although at the AMA he was a fierce critic of the process and believed there was not enough consultation with the medical profession.
“We have some foundations in place. I think we can leverage off them. I don’t see that we are going to have to start from scratch.
Lots more here:
While knowing that in an interview it is tricky to address future plans in any detail the lack of any commentary around the various issues that are presently bedevilling Australian e-Health and not signalling a realistic grasp of the scale of the task to move from where we are now to the vision enunciated in the first paragraph is pretty worrying.
Additionally there does not seem to any commentary or analysis of what has gone wrong over the last few years that has got us to where we are now.
Also it is concerning that he thinks the current e-Health infrastructure is working well. As far as I know it is barely used and has yet to add much real value.
If anyone were to ask me I would suggest Dr Hambleton’s plan should be to do three things.
First a widely consultative review of just were we are now from all relevant perspectives. The six week review was nowhere detailed enough to gain a sufficient understanding of the big picture at a sufficiently detailed level. It is this view which should then lead to an in-depth strategic plan and direction for the future which is both public and agreed by all relevant stakeholders
Second he should ensure he adds at least three recognised Australian e-Health experts to the NEHTA board and  make sure there is total transparency on the Board deliberations publically.
Third he should be working to make himself redundant by setting up the national e-Health governance and leadership framework as recommended in the PCEHR review. I would hope it would be possible to Sunset the old regime within 12 months.
Note I really don’t think NEHTA should be leading any effort in the e-Health space. This should be done by the new organisation. We need a totally different approach to the centralised government led approach that has afflicted the last few years.
What do others think?


Anonymous said...

When we have inmates running the asylum, is it any wonder we see commentary such as this!

Steven Duckett publicly criticizes reports he co-authours (when he's not eating cookies...) so why wouldn't the ex-AMA president choose to Chair an organisation he co-authours to dissolve??

Anonymous said...

The Secretary's parting gesture was to ensure the poison chalice was passed to a well connected and respected high profile clinician. Entrapment at its best. A doctor is in charge so let the laying on of hands begin and blame the doctors if it continues to fall apart. Well done Ms Halton - brilliant move, sweet exit.

Anonymous said...

Recycling the old rhetoric ad infinitum is a waste of time, money and resources.

Steve Hambleton’s heart is in the right place but he lacks the practical experience required to detect when the techos are pulling the wool over his eyes. They can play back whatever he wants to hear and he will hear just that.

Combine that with the shallow simplicity of his statements like:
- “We will be able to securely share information with and about our patients”,
- “We have some foundations in place. I think we can leverage off them.
- “I don’t see that we are going to have to start from scratch.”
…. suggests he really doesn’t have any idea of what he is dealing with and the magnitude of the problem.

It is reasonable to conclude Steve will be relatively powerless to deliver the change required to get us much further than where we already are; which is not very far at all.