Friday, October 24, 2014

Medicare Locals Go As The Primary Care Networks Start Mid Next Year. E-Health Implications?

A few days ago the borders for the 30 new Primary Health Networks (PHN) which will replace the 61 Medicare Locals were announced.
Here is the link:
The most interesting part of this transition I find is this description of what these new PHNs will do.
Here is what the Department of Health says:

What will PHNs do?

The PHN name reflects the critical role they will play in networking health services across local communities so that patients, particularly those needing coordinated care, have the best access to a range of health care providers, including practitioners, community health services and hospitals.
PHNs will achieve this by working directly with GPs, other primary care providers, secondary care providers and hospitals. Care will be better coordinated across the local health system so that patients requiring help from multiple providers receive the right care in the right place at the right time. PHNs will work with other funders of services and purchase or commission high quality, locally relevant and effective services for groups of patients at risk of poor outcomes.
PHNs will assist in facilitating reform of the primary health care system. They will have a key role in trialling innovative ways of funding and integrated health service delivery models that align with national priorities and assessed regional needs.
PHNs will -
·         understand the health needs of their local communities through analysis and planning. They’ll know what services and resources are available and help to identify and plug service gaps where needed, while getting value for money for taxpayers’ dollars;
·         help general practices with support services so they are better able to provide services to patients subsidised through the MBS and PBS and help patients to avoid having to go to emergency departments or being admitted to hospital for conditions that can be effectively managed outside of hospitals;
·         support general practices in attaining the highest standards in safety and quality through showcasing research and evidence of best practice. This includes collecting and reporting data to support continuous improvement;
·         assist GPs in understanding and making meaningful use of eHealth systems, in order to streamline the flow of relevant patient information across the local health provider community; and
·         work with other funders of services and purchase or commission medical/clinical services for local groups most in need, including, for example, patients with complex chronic disease or mental illness.
PHN will be able to purchase services. This might include using local providers or seeking new providers where a market does not already exist. Where it is not possible to purchase services due to market failure, with permission of the Department of Health, the PHN may provide services. PHNs may also provide some services for a short period as part of the transition from Medicare Locals.
Here is the link to the full document:
The part I found fascinating was this paragraph:
·         assist GPs in understanding and making meaningful use of eHealth systems, in order to streamline the flow of relevant patient information across the local health provider community;
So it seems e-health is to focus on information flows between providers. Not a hint of the PCEHR anywhere!
What an excellent plan. Given how recent this document is (15 October, 2014) is DoH telling us something?
Leaks and additional info welcome!
David.

3 comments:

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

"... relevant patient information"

is defined as?

Anonymous said...

Sqillions of Taxpayer money wasted on GP Divisions, Medicare Locals and now the volume of waste and largess shall be turned up with Primary Care Networks...

Where and when will all this wasted expenditure end?

Instead of socking punters with $7 co-payments, how about the health minister taking a razor sharp machete to this ever growing and ever more wasteful healthcare bureaucracy!

Medicare Locals, GP Divisions and now Primary Care Networks certainly do not need offices with “Ocean Views” at Taxpayers’ expense, surely…

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Political logic is not the same as normal logic.

In this case it is Type 1, the most fundamental approach:

Something must be done.
This is something.
We will do this.

That way it can be claimed that something is being done and that it is too early to judge its effectiveness.

If it is eventually deemed not to be effective then something else will be tried. Just look at the history that precedes PCNs for excellent examples.

Like throwing mud at a brick wall to see if anything sticks.

More sadness.