Sunday, November 13, 2016

I Think The ADHA Needs Some Help Getting The Tone And Depth Of Its Communication And Consultation Right.

This blog was posted late last week on the ADHA site.

Why I’m behind digital health

Friday, 11 November 2016
“Can you give me a call when you’re free, love mum.”
The message flashed up on my phone and my heart dropped. I knew something was up. My mum’s attempts at ‘text speak’ usually end up with half a screen of rambled shortcuts that I need to look up urban dictionary to decipher.  This, on the other hand, was too short for comfort.
I quickly made my excuses and rushed out of the conference I was in and gave her a call. My mother had shattered her shoulder and was in hospital waiting to find out what would happen. The kicker though, she was alone, and in New York.
My mum had dreamed of visiting New York her whole life and now that she had semi-retired she ventured off on the trip of a lifetime to see the Big Apple only to end up slipping on the stairs of her hotel and ending up in hospital.
Thus began a frustrating, challenging few days trying to figure out if she was safe to fly, how to get her home to New Zealand and how to get her medical records.
Thirty minutes on hold to the reception at Langone hospital in New York to then be told no you need to speak to the records department, who finish work at 2pm, which happens to be 6am in Australia…. Call back the next day to be told please write us a letter and sign it and mail it to this address and pay $125USD and we’ll send you the X-rays in two weeks. Oh you want them sent overseas? We don’t do that…. And don’t get me started on trying to deal with the insurance company….
There’s nothing more important than our health and the health of those we care about.  I’m sure most of us have stories of frustration navigating the health system.  It was in fact due to my own experience as a patient that I started to get involved in digital health back in the early days of the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
In both Australia and the UK I worked in various digital roles for companies such as Accenture, T-Mobile and MTV.  At MTV I was the Director of Mobile, which when I started was mostly focused on ringtones and voting via SMS, but we could see the shift was starting as the iPod came out in 2001 and consumer behaviour started to adapt as the internet became mainstream and people chose to undertake tasks online such as banking, booking travel, being entertained and even finding love.
I was lucky enough to work with some incredible people who instilled in me the ways of design thinking, understanding user needs and not being afraid to ask ‘why not?’ and try new things. My team developed the world first made for mobile TV channel and a range of new multiplatform solutions for various shows such as the MTV awards, Jackass and the Osbournes.
So when I got sick and had my first interactions with the health system I found it difficult to understand why all this brilliant technology and innovation was being used by the commercial sector to improve service delivery and provide new opportunities for growth, yet in health it didn’t seem to be the case.
What a fantastic opportunity to make life better for people at a time when they really need it!
This was one of the big drivers for me to get into digital health, and it still motivates me today, how do we utilise technology to better understand the needs of our stakeholders, improve workflows, design better systems and make data driven decisions that create better health outcomes for all Australians.

Being part of the Australia Digital Health Agency, working with smart people who care about making a difference and who choose to see the challenges as opportunities to make things better. That’s something I’m immensely proud to be part of.
You too can have your say.  Whether you’re a patient, a member of the public, a healthcare provider, scientist or researcher, entrepreneur or technology innovator. Tell us what is important to you so that what we do is shaped around what you need conversation.digitalhealth.gov.au/
Rachel De Sain is the Agency’s Executive General Manager, Innovation and Development
Here is the link:
A few comments:
1. Suggesting that annoying experiences with the US Healthcare system (which pretty much anyone who lives there is more than familiar with) is a reason for working on Digital Health in Australia I found to be drawing a rather long bow as was the link between experience with MTV and our present e-Health problems.
I really think the ADHA needs to be rather more hard- nosed and practical, as well as more focussed on just what the issues are that need to be solved.
For instance, this blog could have been a really interesting discussion of how expected changes in the next decade in areas like blockchain, machine learning, IBM’s Watson, 5G networking etc. may impact the health system in general and e-health in particular might have been fun.
2. While on this depth topic I have to say the questions I answered on the ADHA web site when asked my views on digital health had a similar impact on me to the recent discussion paper I mentioned in last Sunday’s blog. It reflected a much narrower focus than I would have liked to see at the beginning of a consultation process. Rather like all those Trump voters (and I am certainly NOT one!) I think we need to ‘blow up the place’ and then rebuild on the basis of global lessons learned as well as local experience. (This implies much deeper review of what has gone on here and around the world for the last 2 decades)
I really hope we can see an enhancement of what ADHA is doing to wind up the depth and insight in the planning process and not wind up with more of the same. Go and answer the questionnaire and let us (and ADHA) know what you think!
David.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are hearing the croaking of swamp dwellers, for a start it was bureaucracy that prevented communication. We pay a price for security and that price is that access to results is not easy to obtain, but once its obtained transfer should be easy. Provider to provider communication is actually streets ahead in Australia compared to the USA. Its mainly the hospitals in Australia that are well behind, especially the government run ones. Perhaps the ADHA could sort them out first before they come and "help" the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

All they seem capable of is to keep producing lots of marketing spin and ideological scenarios. Not a word, not a single solitary word is evident, to convey any depth of strategic thinking and planning and logical rationalized arguments which support the thinking and explain in plain language how their thinking evolved which enabled them to reach some core conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Is this real? or has the National Entity for HIT had its website manipulated by a homourous deviant (or mum) and been sarcastically tweeked.

Anonymous said...

This is frighteningly similar to the rebirth of every Federal eHealth authority going back to healthconnect. I am really sick of people who want to bring their experience in area xyz "because heath needs to go digital you know".

If they have that yearning then go out and start a company and develop the solution. While I am sure she is capable in her own field, we need people who understand the problems in the existing systems and how to fix it. Its complex and much already works, but is in need of governance and direction and not a fresh start. We do need a fresh start with respect to these Federal bodies and we are getting more of the same. I my experience they speak rubbish for a bout 5 years and then start to understand the issues, but by then they have dug themselves a hole so deep the axe falls and we go around again.

We would be much better without any body than these toddler level organisations who throw tantrums without the faintest idea about the existing landscape and what needs to be done. Experienced people end up throwing their hands up and move into another industry or retire. Some of us keep going but they need to do some serious consultation with the real world because they don't have a clue and they don't know it. They are consultant fodder but some of us think about more than $$ to produce the results they want to hear. Would someone please drain this swamp, the stench is getting a bit much. Someone who worked at HealthConnect/Nehta etc must have written "Utopia" (ABC show) as it captures the uselessness of these organisations very well.

Anonymous said...

www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/utopia/
Utopia(AKA ADHA/NEHTA). The multi award-winning satirical comedy about a group of people charged with building this nation – one white elephant at a time.

that fits perfectly!

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

While we are pointing to ABC programmes ....

"Your health information is neither safe nor secure"
Radio National
Future Tense

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-12/your-health-information-is-neither-safe-nor-secure/8005338

Bruce Farnell said...

Are fluff pieces from the ADHA, often replendent with motherhood statements, all we can expect in the future? I fear that the answer is yes.

Where is the rigorous analysis? Where is the transparency in decision making? Where is the strategic thinking and planning?

Issues such as patient safety and identity theft don't appear to be a consideration. All we get is "digital is good".

We deserve better.

Anonymous said...

"So when I got sick and had my first interactions with the health system I found it difficult to understand why all this brilliant technology and innovation was being used by the commercial sector to improve service delivery and provide new opportunities for growth, yet in health it didn’t seem to be the case."

If she doesn't know the reason, how is she going to fix it? Throw solutions at it and hope something works? People die that way.