Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Sometimes The Headline Does Not Quite Reflect What The Article Actually Says!

This appeared last week:

Hambleton gains industry’s approval

THE appointment of Steve Hambleton as chairman of the ­National E-Health Transition Authority has been welcomed by the industry, which hopes for an overhaul of the agency that delivered the troubled $1 billion personally controlled e-health records system.
Dr Hambleton, immediate past president of the Australian Medical Association, replaces David Gonski, who completed the maximum two terms, or six years, as NEHTA chair.
Dr Hambleton was a panel member on the government review into the PCEHR.
The Consumers e-Health Alliance said it was interesting to contemplate the role Dr Hambleton needed to play as incoming chair of NEHTA.
CeHA is an unincorporated, not-for-profit organisation that counts chronic illnesses, disabilities and carer organisations as partners. They include Alzheimer’s Australia, Aged Care Association of NSW, Arthritis Australia, Leukaemia Foundation of Australia, Heart Foundation and Stroke Foundation.
“Dr Hambleton participated in the Gang of Three which reviewed the PCEHR and produced 38 recommendations,” CeHA convener Peter Brown said.
“The government has not yet decided what to do about them, but Dr Hambleton’s appointment, and his acceptance … it would be odd if these recommendations were not to be adopted in some agreed way.”
Mr Brown said comments by NEHTA that Mr Gonski was “responsible for revitalising its board, and galvanising co-operation between the governments of Australia to deliver urgently needed infrastructure and standards for health information” were inaccurate. “Neither of these claims are supported by evidence. I’d suggest they are based on misinformation,” he said.
“I don’t believe Mr Gonski would support such claims. I have no doubt he tried hard, but it would not have been possible to revitalise the NEHTA board as by its very nature it was inadequately equipped to do its allotted job.”
Mr Brown said the NEHTA chair had no control over the composition of its board, whose members are mandated to comprise representatives of federal, state and territory governments who provide its equity funding with each appointing a board member.
“The appointees, in the event, were the chief executives of each government’s health entity, none of whom were likely to possess the required experience, and in any case were likely to be ­replaced with each cabinet ­reshuffle, entity restructure or change of government,” he said.
Lots more here:
What I found very interesting here was the view that essentially the previous Chairman had essentially failed and that there was little chance of change into the future - without the dissolution of NEHTA which puts Dr Hambleton out of a job. Does that mean he will have a role in the new structure?
It is also of interest that it is not NEHTA but rather the Department of Health that owns - with Human Services operating - the PCEHR. Just what influence NEHTA has had in recent times on the PCEHR seems to have been rather constrained.
I just get the feeling there is a bit of woolly thinking about how e-Health governance is now operating - and with the lack of clarity as to what the future looks like until we see the much delayed response to the PCEHR Review.


Anonymous said...

The Department of Human Services does not operate the PCEHR. They do operate the HI Service.

The Department of Health operates the PCEHR.

Don't believe everything you read.

Dr Ian Colclough said...

Steve Hambleton's role is to Chair NEHTA. That alone will not change NEHTAs direction nor will it necessarily change the way the other Board Members direct NEHTA; if that is what they do.

Even so, with the right support and advice Steve Hambleton has a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the direction of eHealth in Australia for many years to come and above all to resolve the mess over which he now presides.

It is an opportunity which will not wait around for long. Unless he seeks out the help he needs without delay the opportunity will be lost.

He is no superman and one should not expect that of him. All that anyone can hope for is that he knows he needs help and he knows who to ask to help him find that help.

This message was put very clearly to the Review Committee in a brief submission but whether it will be heeded remains yet to be seen.

Dr David More MB PhD FACHI said...


You are wrong.

He is in the wrong position, at the wrong time, in the wrong governance framework to do anything!

Sorry. This appointment is a political sop to Government incompetence.

He can't and won't make a difference for good or evil!

He will soon learn this is the truth!


Anonymous said...

I would agree with Ian and David. By that I mean:
1. Yes, he is in the wrong Governance framework

2. Yes, his appointment is 'political' but not necessarily a 'sop'

3. He can and could make a difference for 'good' if he is wise enough to seek out the right 'help' as suggested

4. He will soon learn which of you is right.

Anonymous said...

I would call his appointment a conflict of interest. What NeHTA really needs to shake it up is a REAL chairman of the Board. Someone who knows how to effectively manage a board and they don't have to have any Health experience to do that in this case. What has been lacking all along, is proper observance of due process, due diligence (when it came to tenders etc) and ensuring value for money. A good governor of boards is all that is required for that.