Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Australian Healthcare And Hospitals Association Submission On The Upcoming Budget. A Little Gentle On E-Health I Believe.

This was released a few days ago:
The section on E-Health is on page 7 of the 8 page submission:

Commonwealth Leadership on System Integration

The AHHA acknowledges the Commonwealth Government’s continued support for the national implementation of ehealth tools and resources as holding immense potential to support high quality and consistent care, as well as supporting a number of efficiencies and reduction of waste.
The benefit and value of the use of standardised use of electronic health records are well documented: better information sharing and communication between healthcare providers and between patient and provider; reduced duplication or over servicing; more efficient and more appropriate treatment; responds to needs of both clinicians and consumers by being portable and transferrable.
Electronic health resources also stand to better support prescribing and referrals for tests and other procedures and would align with other efforts to reduce inappropriate or unnecessary testing and medication prescription.
Greater use and entrenchment of personal electronic health records would:

  • Further integrate and support appropriate care regardless of the point of access in the system.
  • Provide a greater focus on a digital healthcare system would also support better performance reporting
  • Enhance the capability to allow for performance reporting in real time and across a community through linked data collected and analysis to support quality service provision, achievement of health outcomes and responsiveness in delivery programs and services that meet identified needs.
  •  Allow for information sharing across health services, both public and private, enabling governments and other funders to identify better utilisation of resources for health.

The establishment of Primary Health Networks provides the opportunity for strong Commonwealth leadership to establish primary health care as the cornerstone of a responsive and strong health system.
It is vitally important that Primary Health Networks are provided with adequate long term funding and supports to establish themselves and adapt to the needs of their communities. Insufficient and uncoordinated primary care services inevitably lead to increased demand on acute hospitals through outpatient clinics, emergency departments and hospital admissions. Funding arrangements should reflect the nature of community needs and should allow for facilitating the right care in the most appropriate environment and supporting unnecessary hospital admissions and presentations.
----- End Extract
I have to say what worries me about all this is the lack of any comment on the lack of clarity about the future funding and purpose, the lack of comment regarding the lack of evaluation of what has been done to date and a distinct sense of the submission being a triumph of hope over experience in the last decade or so.
The AHHA could afford to push a little harder for more concrete outcomes and evaluation!
David.

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