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

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Where Do We Re-Start with e-Health In Australia and how Do We Pick Up the Pieces?

As regular readers will recall submissions to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) review of NEHTA closed on the 27th July, 2007.

Since that time there have been a number of interesting developments.

First (slightly late) submissions to the review have been submitted to the BCG from an additional range of organisations including the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) and the Australian College of Health Informatics (ACHI). Both these submissions – as well as a number of individual submissions have strongly supported the view put in this blog regarding NEHTA and its gross and continuing underperformance.

Interestingly these submissions have achieved a real first. They caused the NEHTA Chair to issue a press release. This release and my initial comments on which can be found here.

What I did not specifically comment on in the release was the following first sentence.

To quote:

“7 August, 2007. The Board of the National E-Health Authority welcomes public debate about the important role NEHTA plays as the peak e-health body in Australia.”

Am I the only one who missed the announcement that informed the health sector that NEHTA is the “peak e-health body in Australia”? Does anyone know when the Council of Australian Government or Health Ministers determined and then announced this reality?

I must say that, if this is true, then the job facing the BCG is really much larger than I suspect they envisaged as they have the job of getting the strategy and governance for the whole e-health space in Australia back on track.

For me the key things we need to sort out to get things back on the rails are:

First to determine how the ICT infrastructure for the Health Sector in Australia is to be governed given the complexity of our Federal / State / Private Sector accountability boundaries.

Second we need who is to be responsible for what and how accountability and responsiveness to the needs of the sector can be engineered. (There are a large number of actors to be co-ordinated including COAG, AHMAC, AHIC, NEHTA, the Clinicians in all their different forms, Standards Australia, Consumers and so the list goes on). A key issue here is deciding what the role of local vs. state and national entities is to be.

Third we need a list of achievable priorities and time-lines based on an assessment of the current state and an understanding of where the most good can be achieved and how with what additional investment. (i.e. we need an agreed strategy and investment plan and associated business case).

Fourth we need to stop the waste and mismanagement that is sponsoring the non-strategic and investments that a going on in an un-coordinated fashion all over the country.

Other interesting recent developments have included:

  • The announcements by Switzerland, Lithuania and Ireland of major National e-Health initiatives.
  • A continuing stream of strategic announcements from US standards entities showing the emerging organisation and standardisation of initiatives in that country.
  • Continuing reports of useful progress being made in a range of other European countries (Germany most recently).

All in all the rest of the world is on the move. Pity we are not doing as well at present. I hope the BCG Review can change all that! In the next few days I plan to expand on the actions I see as being vital to flow from the review.

David.

ps. This is post number 250 for the blog – and it seems like yesterday it started. Thanks to all who read and I hope at least some enjoy!

D.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Chair would not have written this media release even though it was distributed under the Chair’s name. Given that the release was a response to adverse media coverage aimed at ‘damage control’ it is unlikely to have come from NEHTA’s media communication staff. Even so, if it did it most certainly would have been approved and signed off by the CEO. Therefore it accurately reflects the CEOs perceptions of NEHTA’s role as “the peak e-health body in Australia”.