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Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Monday, May 28, 2007

SA HealthConnect – What are they Thinking?

The SA HealthConnect team held a vendor briefing last for the South Australian Care Planning Project on May 14, 2007.

They have now been asked about the requirements on which their Request For Proposal (RFP or Tender) is based.

“Q - On page 22 of the RFP, it states that the business requirements will be made available to the preferred respondent. Is there any reason why they are not yet available?

A – The functional specification on which the tender was based is now available to all respondents via the HealthConnect SA website http://www.healthconnectsa.org.au/Default.aspx?tabid=84 as is the presentation given at the Industry Briefing Session.

In response the following was made available on the 22nd of May.

The document is titled as follows:

South Australian Health Department

SA HealthConnect Program

High Level Business Requirements for Electronic Care Planning including Decision Support

Supporting the Management of Chronic Disease (Final Report)

Trilogy Information Solutions (International) Pty Ltd. (January 2007)

The document was actually converted to a .pdf format on 16 May, 2007. Just how closely this document resembles the report provided by Trilogy is open to conjecture.

Even more fascinating are the contents of the document.

Early on we learn that the plan for this high level document is as follows:

“1.5 Intended Audience & Next Steps

This document will be reviewed by a small group of stakeholders with an interest in progressing electronic care planning support for chronic disease management in the first instance. The document will be revised following feedback from stakeholders and will form the basis of a more detailed requirements document and information technology procurement for a CPS in the second half of 2006.”

The implication of this is clear, this present document is a draft which has not been fully reviewed by relevant stakeholders and it is not the detailed requirements document that should be available to enable procurement.

A second implication is that this document was completed in the first half of 2006 or even earlier if the following timing is accurate.

According to the requirements GP Management Plans, which are said to be recently introduced are a driver for the Shared Care initiative These were introduced in July 2005 as can be seen at this site:


Thus, it is more than possible this requirement document is over eighteen months old and I must say this is confirmed by all the references to the National HealthConnect project which is well known to have been placed in the deep freeze almost two years ago now.

It seems pretty clear this document has been hastily retrieved to fill an obvious yawning gap in the RFP that has been issued and that essentially SA HealthConnect, in their haste to spend their money, has not bothered to refine and clarify their thinking as to what they want to procure.

The timing of the development of this document is further confirmed by there being no mention of the NEHTA UHI Initiatives which were announced in August 2006. All that is referred to is the now obsolete HealthConnect Number – whatever that is.

Interestingly the scope of the requirements document also covers all sorts of entities which do not seem to be part of the present RFP. Those missing seem to include:

  • Community Health Providers
  • Aged Care Providers
  • Metropolitan Domiciliary Care
  • Department of Education and Children’s Services
  • Children, Youth & Family Services

It really makes one wonder is this document actually the specification on which the RFP was based?

Lastly it is also of concern are the rather flexible and vague controls that are required for provider access to consumer information. Essentially this part of the specification says we would like proper individual provider access controls but that will probably be too hard so we will provide organisation based access. So much for audit trail based capability to detect abuse of personal consumer information. Searching for consumer details does also not seem to be specified in a way that would now be seen as providing an acceptable level or protection against misuse.

Unless I badly miss the mark the SA HealthConnect project simply have not produced a current specification to match their tender and, when asked, have cast around for the nearest they could find which turns out to be conceptually and technically obsolete compared with their now stated requirements (witness all the NEHTA compliance issues cited in the tender and not mentioned in the requirements etc).

There is little doubt this entire project is a disaster waiting to happen and the SA Health Minister should put an end to this process and insist his staff undertake a proper process and do all the work necessary before issuing such a flawed RFP.

I think I should e-mail this and the previous article to the SA Health Minister to see if some sense can prevail. Maybe some of the SA Health subscribers to the blog (4 at the last count) could maybe let him know of my concerns?


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