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."

Monday, June 16, 2008

What is Big Blue Up to in E-Health in OZ?

In the last week IBM Australia have been running very expensive full one page advertisements in the Australian Financial Review.

The theme has been “STOP Talking. START Curing.” This seems to be a small change to a more basic “Stop Talking. Start Doing”.

The advertisement then goes on to say “IBM© helps implement on line portals with consolidated, real time views of critical patient information, allowing healthcare organisations to provide better care.”

We are then referred to:


Which in Australia resolves to:


On this page the following introduction is provided:

“The healthcare system needs a transfusion of innovation if it is to move from a fragmented, paper-based, one-size-fits-all condition to a personalised, more predictive and preventative system. The aim is to develop a system with all parts working together to incorporate patient and related medical information into clinical workflows and processes, to allow better managed healthcare costs, and to enable individuals to take an active role in managing their own well-being.”

And then some examples of some interesting projects are provided.

Virtually simultaneously we have the following from the USA.

IBM releases another piece of its Healthcare 2015 initiative

How health care providers deliver care is going to change in the future - by a lot. That's the message from Armonk-based IBM Corp. in the latest study from its "Healthcare 2015" initiative.

Community hospitals will lose patients to networks of clinics, and more consumers will become medical tourists as they turn to overseas physicians as an alternative to high U.S. hospital bills.

Edgar L. Mounib, health care lead for the IBM Institute for Business Value and a co-author of the new study, said U.S. hospitals will be competing on price not only with others in the same city and state but with facilities half a globe away.

"Health care is no longer local, it's global," he said.

At the same time, patients will seek care at nontraditional venues closer to home, like clinics at their workplace as the focus shifts to preventative care.

"We treat the sick," he said. "We should focus on improving health by engaging the citizen much earlier."

More here:


You can follow up more of this work here:


There are two questions in my mind. First – on the assumption that IBM never does anything that costs a fair few dollars by accident – what contract are they working to shore up or win?

This would have to be a very good candidate!

Medicare IT outsourcing deal delayed

Karen Dearne | May 29, 2008

THE planned retendering of Medicare's key ICT outsourcing services contract has once again been postponed while the Human Services Department awaits direction from the Gershon Review of federal government agencies' use and management of IT systems.

Human Services Minister Joe Ludwig says the plan to take a "more universal" approach to ICT requirements will affect the timing of approaches to the market by agencies.

"We have a number of major contracts - including the Medicare Australia ICT services contract - which are due to expire over the next 12 to 24 months," Senator Ludwig said in a statement.

"A key element of the department's service delivery reform strategy involves strategic portfolio approach. Our agencies, including Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support, are collectively among the biggest users of ICT within Australia."

IBM won a $350 million, five-year outsourcing contract with Medicare in 2000, delivering the ICT infrastructure and storage, desktop, security and support services. The contract has since been extended to March 2009.

More here:


Another possibility is that IBM see themselves as providing a national e-health portal and that this will be the approach adopted to delivering patient held clinical records that can be integrated with Medicare Australia information. Interestingly, as regular readers will know, IBM is was central in the delivery of just such a system in Denmark. From all I can find out this system is a pretty considerable success – so I wonder why IBM does not mention it in their reference sites and project.

The scale and depth of this project can be reviewed here:


One way or another you can be sure they have a major project, or contract, or both in mind!


1 comment:

Trevor3130 said...

IBM's green push not limited to data centres could be a clue.
IBM has/had a big presence on Melbourne's Southbank. Victoria's Premier, John Brumby, is looking at solar energy plants in the US, probably looking to power his desalination plant. Successful partnerships between governments and IBM would help to soothe the pain of a genuine estimate of the infrastructure costs of a working shared electronic record.
Rudd's government is giving strong signals that it will not be lured into making promises (to established pressure groups) without doing the sums on overall costs and benefits.
The government may find that the real bulk of 'suffering' is at the level of people without independent means who have to endure the bureaucratic maze in order to satisfy requirements for assistance. A global strategy for shared data is needed.
I think I will be whingeing about the shortcomings of Medical Director for a while yet, or until the doctors' union gets its head out of its fundament.
This one went into the Letters Editor's bin -
"The public must engage in the dispute over provision of services in health care ('Health workers to the front line to combat GP shortage', 11/6). The providers, like nurses and doctors, will argue back and forth, but one outstanding issue will frustrate all efforts to create a more equitable and accessible system. This crucial matter is accountability, and that is entirely dependent on the way records of interventions are stored.
On the one hand, it makes good sense for nurses to set up small practices where they measure blood pressure, give vaccinations and do Pap smears. Much of the resulting information would be hard fact and should be stored in permanent form where it is accessible to all relevant practitioners.
The history of electronic health records suggests that if nurses were able to practice independently then they would use their own independent software to store results. Medical practitioners have a good record of using computers, but the software is proprietary and does not integrate at all well with other sources of health data.
Nicola Roxon would be better advised to concentrate her efforts on bringing into existence a shared electronic health record for each Australian."