The following arrived just moments ago via 6minutes.com.au.
E-health a reality this year
by Jared Reed
Universal health identifiers (UHI) for patients and health professionals will be a major step closer this year, says the body in charge of e-health reform.
By December, the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) plans to have two pilot projects underway to test the usefulness of the e-pathology, e-prescribing and referral and discharge components of individual e-health records.
“[UHIs will] need to be ready to be rolled out but we still need legislation and other governmental interventions to make sure those things are…legislated for,” says Melbourne GP Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, NEHTA’s clinical leader.
Dr Haikerwal says NEHTA is also working to ensure projects are relevant to a clinical practice.
Read the full article here:
Well who are we to believe on all this?
We have the Department of Health and Ageing – at the Secretary level no less – saying in Senate Estimates last week that (to briefly quote the Hansard transcript):
“Senator BOYCE—To summarise, the underlying components necessary to deliver e-health should be assembled by the end of the year. Is that what you are saying?
Ms Halton—Most of them.
Ms Morris—Many of them, I would say.
Ms Halton—Yes, many of them. The ones to do these functions that we have just talked about—starting to move discharge summaries, referrals and pathology results around. E-health can be quite narrow or it can be extraordinarily large. The bigger it is, obviously, the more complex and more expensive it is, and you have to start in a way which is scalable. You have to start with things which are achievable.”
And the article above merely talks in vague terms of two pilot implementations. It also makes it clear that without legislation and other Government action Health Identifiers (UHIs) are stalled or near there to.
What can one do but just shake one’s head in disbelief and the incapacity of those involved to actually get a straight story out – let alone actually deliver anything useful.
No one needs to “test the usefulness of the e-pathology, e-prescribing and referral and discharge components of individual e-health records”. Blind Freddy – on the basis of experience both here and internationally - can tell you this is all exceedingly useful!
What is needed is to get the various infrastructure elements legislatively enabled and operational and then start serious implementation of the relevant applications in the real world. Denmark, Sweden, Holland and a range of other places have most of this working, at significant scale, today – as do some messaging providers right here in Australia (think Medical Objects, Healthlink, Argus among others).
The grinding incapacity of the combination of NEHTA, DoHA and Medicare Australia to actually get their respective acts together and deliver coherent e-health outcomes is becoming a very sad joke. Again we are to be piloted to death!
The sooner we establish some overarching governance for e-Health and have the players knowing what each other is doing and having some co-ordination in the activity the better.
Minister Roxon – this is clearly your problem and it needs to be addressed and not just palmed off to a bureaucracy which is obviously out of control and lacks direction.