Quote Of The Year

Quotes Of The Year - 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."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Who Smells the NEHTA Spin?

Well the journalist who heads NEHTA is back to his roots! I wonder how long it took to craft this article? My spies tell me it was weeks! Desperate to manage the obvious outcomes of a deeply negative report card!

To confirm this just look at the carefully crafted collection of ‘alleged’ e-Health progress items.

Healing Australia via broadband

Jennifer Hewett | December 17, 2007

A health revolution is coming that will allow patients, doctors and specialists to use e-medical records, writes Jennifer Hewett.

IMAGINE going to a new medical specialist and not having to take the referral letter, your X-rays and details of your existing medications.

Imagine attending a new GP practice where the GP calls up your previous medical records at the click of a mouse rather than relying on your, er, memory.

Imagine ending up in the emergency room of a public hospital where doctors who have never seen you before can instantly see your entire medical history. Not to mention having your own GP able to immediately see all the comments from the hospital staff, the discharge papers and the recommendations for follow-up treatment. No waiting, no confusion, no falling between the paper cracks.

Yes the personal electronic health record is finally coming to Australia. The concept is relatively simple. It means individual medical details will be easily and always accessible on computer to both doctors and patients, should patients wish.

But while the appeal is obvious so are the complications, not least the privacy concerns.

For the past 2 1/2 years, a group of health and IT professionals has been quietly beavering away to make the idea workable. They staff the National E-Health Transition Authority, a non-profit company whose board includes all the heads of federal and state health departments, with a budget so far of $160 million.

Now comes the next phase.

Following criticism and an independent review that found NEHTA has not consulted widely enough, the company is now trying to work more closely with the medical profession and other potential users of electronic health records.

This week it will announce it has signed a contract with Medicare Australia to design and build the special identification markers for consumers and healthcare providers.

Although it won't be ready for Kevin Rudd's ambitious timetable for a snap meeting of the Council of Australian Governments on Thursday, NEHTA will put its business case to the first COAG meeting next year for the next stage of funding.

Continue reading the very long article here:


The plan for a Shared EHR ( it was called HealthConnect then) was knocked back by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging in 2005 and has now been resurrected, as a new idea, (which it is not!), to save those involved in the terrible NEHTA inaction and management of E-Health over the last 3 years.

The Shared EHR may be really good idea but it is much more complex and difficult to achieve than is even partially recognised in this transparent ‘puff piece’

What chance, with the surplus in meltdown, as we now hear, this will get funded now?

I am utterly sick of the spin, deception and rubbish we are seeing from this just totally dysfunctional organisation which as late as a week ago was suggesting to its executives that grass roots E-Health initiatives were to be observed and monitored rather than assisted and supported (and this directive was direct from the CEO I am told).

Sorry..we really need a fresh start with a new team! There is no sign anyone can see there will be the level of change and openness we all require.

I have seen some spin in my time – but this article takes the biscuit! That it was planted to try and minimise the impact of the BCG Report should be obvious to the most naive.



Anonymous said...

......but this article takes the biscuit! Takes the Xmas Pudding is more like it. Given the Review was forced out into the open the best time to release it is a few days before Xmas when no-one wants to know.

Anonymous said...

It's a beautiful piece of spin. All part of the process of setting up the Minister to release those several hundred million dollars referred to.

Anonymous said...

You've gotta be kidding. That can’t be true. There is no way NEHTA’s CEO would be so silly as to give a directive to his executives as late as a week ago that grass roots E-Health initiatives were to be observed and monitored rather than assisted and supported. Absolutely not possible. He would never say that. Why would he?

Dr David G More MB PhD said...

I had it from impeccable sources. If you consider the way NEHTA has dealt with Standards Australia volunteers, and a range of others over the last year or two such an approach is hardly a surprise.

My point is that so far I see little evidence of the warm caring and engaging NEHTA as yet - and remember the report was given to the Board in late October - a good couple of months ago.

As other have commented on this blog you don't change an organization's culture without changing the management.


Anonymous said...

NEHTA’s media release and its Action Plan for Adoption Success confirms the absolute truth in what you say that “we really need a fresh start with a new team” because it does not look as though “there will be the level of change and openness we all require’ under the current management. That is patently apparent.

Anonymous said...

Observing and monitoring is fine. That way NEHTA can learn things, pick up good ideas, copy and duplicate where necessary. As for assisting and supporting, that’s not a good idea as it could lead to a loss of control. Industry should fend for itself. NEHTA has no brief to support industry.

Anonymous said...

True. There can be no change in culture without a change in leadership. The leadership of NEHTA is running on empty.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn’t we be asking ‘Why is it so?’ Have we all been conned by a silky smooth operator. Your opening para looks like it holds some of the clues.

Dr David G More MB PhD said...

I disagree. Unless you want Government to do the whole of E-Health, NEHTA's role is surely to assist industry with standards development, shared infrastructure development,guidance etc.

The comments I hear from entities like the Medical Software Industry Association suggests NEHTA has failed in this role to a large degree to date.


Anonymous said...

Not only does the leadership need to be changed but the organisation also needs to be changed. This means downsized. Send some of those poeple who have been sitting on their fat butts for years, even before NEHTA came into being, out into the real world for while. If they are any good they will get a job somewhere in the health IT space. A bit of cross fertilisation won't do any harm. New blood for the private sector is a good thing. Chop some of the NEHTA budget until it delivers on its number one priority. Reallocate some funds to doing some proper planning on the way ahead. And with the downsizing it becomes possible to create a new, vibrant, revitalised culture which might be more conducive to assisting and supporting industry rather than just observing and monitoring.

Anonymous said...

Hear hear well said. Real change is needed. Now. Santa Claus - where are you?

Anonymous said...

Page 10 of the Action Plan for Adoption Success .... says "Through this function new implementation partnership opportunities (particularly for referral, medication management and "greenfield" sites such as new hospitals) can be identified and established.

????? How many GREENFIELD hospital sites can we expect to see in the next 24 months ?????

Dr David G More MB PhD said...


Very Few! The big new ones in SA and WA - costing billions - will take years from now to come on stream.