Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Yet Again The Health Department Has Made Life Harder For GPs With Poor Technology!



This appeared a few days ago:

My Aged Care site criticised for wasting GPs' time

3 September 2015
THE new national gateway for aged-care referrals is acting as a choke point for GPs trying to arrange care for elderly patients, doctors say.
The My Aged Care website and online referral system was to provide “equitable and timely access to aged care assessments and make it easier for older people to find aged care services and information”.
But major design flaws in the system launched on 1 July are said to be wasting doctors’ time and causing information about vulnerable patients to be lost.
Loss of information from GPs’ referrals is a “huge concern”, says Adelaide GP Dr Chris Bollen, who has taken feedback from numerous practices about the system. 
“There’s no way to know if your referral has been accepted, and where it’s gone to, no read on receipt function," he says. 
“The GP referrals go to the assessment team online. Then the next person takes that information and rings the older person or their carer, then an assessment is made and a referral is generated and sent to a regional assessment team or sometimes to a provider.  
“But the original GP referral stays with the My Aged Care people – it does not go to the end provider at all.” 
The RACGP has written to the Department of Social Services seeking a number of improvements, including a means of sending referrals electronically via a system that conforms to the Secure Message Delivery (SMD) system. 
“The website has created extra and unnecessary work for general practitioners due to lack of front-line GP input into the design and modus operandi,” RACGP president Frank Jones told Medical Observer.
“Proactive consultation with the profession would have saved time, effort and given the best outcome.”
The web-based system is not compatible with GPs’ electronic clinical data systems, forcing doctors to manually retype patient details to the new template in a “time-consuming and unnecessary exercise”, Dr Jones says. 
The RACGP said in its 11 August letter to DSS: “To be useable in the context of general practice, online methods of communication must link to or integrate with GPs’ electronic clinical and administrative systems.
…..
After the RACGP released its letter of concern publicly, the department responded yesterday with an acknowledgment “that a seamless interface supporting GPs and aged care providers is ideal”, Dr Jones said. 
“The RACGP is supportive of an online electronically based referral system for aged care and would welcome the opportunity to work with government to improve processes,” he says. 
The DSS has been contacted for comment.
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Yet another e-Health farce led by the Department of Health. How about some testing and a pilot or two to locate the issues before full implementation? Really all one can do is despair!
David.

3 comments:

Karen Dearne said...

Well this portal's lack of functionality is not due to a lack of money ... a quick check of AusTender shows that around $24 million has been spent on it to date.

The Department of Social Services, which inherited this project from DoHA, has recently increased the value of its contract with service provider APIS to $12.8m, for the period Jan 2014 to June 2016; this started out at $4.26m so that's good going just 18 months into a 2.5-year contract.

APIS has been paid a further $5.6m for its work on this project, dating back to 2012. DoHA was responsible for almost all of the development work and contracts.

PwC pocketed $4.6m for change and benefits management; KPMG got $324,000 for "provision of options" for linking the service and Healthcare Management Advisors received $241,450 to develop a cost model for aged care assessment through the gateway (a DSS contract).

McGrathNicol did the probity advisory services for $148,500; Oakton helped out with additional support for $225,300, while a Talent business analyst earned $91,000 for six months work along with a Clicks recruit who made the tea for $19,300.

Interestingly, ThinkPlace Unit Trust was paid $79,420 to create an operational blueprint for the gateway in early 2013, another $32,180 in June to finalise the operations manual "to reflect increased scope", and in July another $32,180 to get it out the door, presumably.

Seems as though they didnt bother asking any doctors, aged care people or consumers....

BTW, a quick search of tenders for "portal" or "gateway" puts this one right up there with most expensive. And it doesn't work. Genius! From the people who brought us the PCEHR

Dr Ian Colclough said...

Seems as though they didn't bother asking any doctors, aged care people or consumers....

I often wonder whether those responsible for such healthIT fiascos (heaven knows there is no shortage of them) have any idea who they are developing such systems for. Is it possible they have no idea what and who comprise their target market and potential users.

Or is it simply that they are just incapable of engaging with end users to ascertain their needs, incapable of asking questions or incapable of interpreting any information that is received if they do ask questions. Or perhaps it's simply that the air these people exist in is so rarefied that their brains, if they have any, are deprived of the vital oxygen required to sustain life.

Anonymous said...

@Dr Ian Colclough, those responsible are making these systems are to fit their own resumes, career paths and salaries, for the profits and publicity of their respective private sector and public sector/political Masters... One term some use to describe them is 'bottom feeders'. You can probably find many other appropriate synonyms... Even worse is that their Masters probably give political and campaign contributions for both sides of politics. A Walkley Award worth investigative journalism activity @Karen Dearne might look into, vastly more scandalous than the 7-Eleven Business Model (another frightening example of a false economy).