Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Useful and Interesting Health IT Links from the Last Week – 9/09/2007

Again, in the last week, I have come across a few reports and news items which are worth passing on.

These include first:


Bid to put e-health on track

Ben Woodhead | September 04, 2007

THE Western Australia Government has rebadged its troubled $335 million health technology overhaul following a string of embarrassing delays to the project, which was launched in 2004 but is yet to deliver any results.

WA renames and reschedules its controversial project

The state's Department of Health has dumped the project's former title, HealthTec, and renamed it eHealthWA, as it attempts to put the controversial initiative back on track.

The change was revealed at an industry briefing last week where the Department of Health also laid out a new timetable for the project to vendors that are likely to bid for systems integration and hardware and software contracts.

…..( see the URL above for full article)

This is a really amusing article – as we have a dismally managed project renamed – in an attempt to re-start what has been a running fiasco for a number of years.

Further details on the new plans can be found here.


At first look they seem to have set up a reasonable structure and approach.

Program structure

eHealthWA comprises five main streams of activity, addressing specific service challenges:

As these projects progress and are completed, they will merge to ultimately deliver an integrated, flexible and modern ICT platform for public health in WA.

All we can do is hope that somehow this will be successful. I won’t be holding by breath!

Second we have:


Doctors charting high-tech path With computers, patient records are at their fingertips

September 2, 2007

By MEL HUFF Staff Writer

When Dr. Bruce Bullock, a family practice doctor in Rutland, sees a patient, he opens her chart on his computer and at a glance notes her vital signs, the results of her laboratory tests and the medications she's taking. He can pull up a stress test she took five years ago along with the notes he made at the follow-up visit. He can automatically graph her blood pressure and weight between the time of the test and now and show her the relationship between the two.

Bullock's electronic medical record system lets him e-mail his secretary to make a referral to a cardiologist before the patient leaves the exam room. He can send himself an e-mail, dated in the future, reminding himself to tell her to get a colonoscopy.

When Bullock writes a prescription, the system will alert him if his patient is allergic to the drug or if there's a cross-reaction with other medications she's taking. He can view everything he has ever prescribed for her and see a list of the medications that were effective.

"This is absolutely the greatest quality tool," Bullock says.

The widespread adoption of electronic medical records, or EMRs, is a prerequisite for creating a secure statewide network for data exchange among health care organizations.

…..( see the URL above for full article)

This is a good grass roots description of how some practitioners in the USA are using EHRs in their practices – worth a browse!

Third we have:


Report highlights NPfIT's 'impressive milestones'

30 Aug 2007

‘Impressive milestones in the implementation of the National Programme for IT’ have been highlighted as one of the major achievements in the NHS in the first quarter of 2007/08, in a report published today.

The IT programme is one of a number of key issues pulled out and focused upon to demonstrate good progress made in 2007/08 to date, helping to boost good financial management by trusts.

The NHS quarterly report says: “The first quarter of this year also saw some impressive milestones in the implementation of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT). NPfIT continues to make significant progress in providing robust and speedy infrastructure and systems to enable the NHS locally to be ever more responsive to providing better care for the patients they serve.”

Milestones reached in the first quarter of the financial year are:

• 100% of Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) installations were completed in the South and London – and a total of 81,733,354 images were stored during this period

• Between April and June, eight acute Patient Administration Systems were deployed in hospitals across the country, while over one million appointments were made using Choose and Book

• The Electronic Prescription Service continued to grow in popularity, with 9,145,435 prescriptions transmitted using the system in the quarter – equating to 11% of daily prescriptions.

…..( see the URL above for full article)

‘The Quarter’ report


International spotlight on Wales' health IT

04 Sep 2007

Experts from around the world are to gather in Cardiff later this month for a conference focused on the development of health and information technology in Wales.

The invitation-only conference, IAG 2007 on 20-21 September will be hosted by Informing Healthcare, the Welsh Assembly Government’s programme to improve patient care with the better use of information technology.

Eight international specialists from Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland and the USA who form an International Advisory Group (IAG) will take time before the conference to review how the six main local health communities in Wales are progressing with their plans to improve services using information technology.

....( see the URL above for full article)

It is interesting to note that the Welsh – who are doing pretty well in the e-health domain already – are taking the step of gathering external input and advice.

Of concern is that Australia was not seen as being able to offer any useful expert input. I wonder does this reflect the perceived lack of progress we have made in recent years.


Cerner contract re-set puts focus on local needs

06 Sep 2007

Cerner, the system supplier to the London and Southern Programme for IT, has suspended design work on the Millennium Release Two patient administration system, throwing deployment schedules into further doubt, E-Health Insider has learnt.

Despite this, Cerner emphasised that work was still going ahead to implement Millennium into Southern trusts, but with much greater emphasis being placed on adapting the system to meet local requirements.

The system was due to be released in 2009 to NHS trusts in the South and London, but Cerner confirmed to EHI this week that they have suspended design on R2 of the PAS, for the Southern Programme for IT, since 17 August.

A spokesperson for the Southern Programme for IT told EHI that the suspension was connected to the current ‘contract reset’ being undertaken in the Southern cluster, as exclusively revealed by EHI last month.

“We can confirm that Cerner have suspended design of R2. The R2 design team are now going to each trust in the region to work with them individually, ensuring that the system that will be delivered is the right one for them.

....( see the URL above for full article)


Global Observatory for eHealth (GOe)

What is the Global Observatory for eHealth?

eHealth is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health. It is recognised as one of the most rapidly growing areas in health today. However, limited systematic research has been carried out to inform eHealth policy and practice. This is why the Global Observatory for eHealth (GOe) is an important new initiative of the WHO.

Established in early 2005, the Observatory's mission is to improve health by providing Member States with strategic information and guidance on effective practices, policies and standards in eHealth.

....( see the URL above for full article)

The report dated Feb 2007 is a useful high level international summary.

More next week.



Anonymous said...

Rebadging the WA Health Project was no doubt necessary to give it a new lease of life. but goodness gracious, to wrap it all up in the flavour of the month by calling it ............ eHealth ........ is farcical. Have they no original thinkers in WA?

Surely they can think of a more appropriate name.

Anonymous said...

The United Kingdom’s NPfIT certainly does seem to have achieved an impressive milestone with its Electronic Prescription Service.

9,145,435 prescriptions transmitted using the system in the quarter.

Multiply by 4 and that equals 36,581,740 prescriptions transmitted pro rata in 12 months. Divide this by 365 and we conclude that the UKs EPS is transmitting 100,224 prescriptions daily. This figure comprises (as is reported) 11% of daily prescriptions.

Hence the total volume of prescriptions which could be transmitted daily in the UK is 911,127 for a population of 50 million.

How does Australia compare?

Anonymous said...

It certainly has been a dismally managed project - why can’t the bureaucrats just stay “sorry - we stuffed up - this time we will try and do better”. Probably because they don’t know they stuffed up.

It would be a good starting point. Anything less is, as you say, amusing - and more importantly completely insulting to all those vendors that were seduced into investing enormous amounts of time and resources in WA HealthTec for NIL return.

Then, how about calling the project ‘WA HealthLink’. This at least would indicate they have some semblance of understanding about what they hope to achieve.