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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Dire Predictions By Experts as to the Future of E-Health in Australia.

It seems we are at the tipping point I have been banging on about. The following is to appear in Medical Observer next week.

D-day looms for e-health standards

Elizabeth McIntosh - Friday, 3 April 2009

THE Federal Government has just 12 months to set the ground rules for e-health standards before a national, unified e-health system slips from its grasp, experts have warned.

Leader of the team which authored the Deloitte’s National E-Health Strategy, Adam Powick, said without a clear direction, smaller e-health trials and projects would continue to develop and forge ahead according to their own standards, leading to an increasingly fragmented system.

.....

The challenge now, Mr Powick said, was to align the major e-health projects and encourage enough clinicians to use them to create a “tipping point”, so others could no longer ignore the benefits of a coordinated system.

.....

Responding to MO queries, a NEHTA spokesperson said the authority had been funded to examine foundational services to enable the e-health system.

Full article is here if you have access.

http://www.medicalobserver.com.au/News/0,1734,4244,03200904.aspx

So, we have from the horse’s mouth that things are a real mess and will only get worse without some much improved management and leadership.

You can tell from the NEHTA response it is sure to come from them – NOT!

Can I say I believe Mr Powick has it exactly right and that those who care for the future of e-Health in Australia should be afraid, very afraid.

This view is also supported by others:

“....Booz and Company principal Klaus Boehncke [said] at the conference. "It's fair to say that political leadership has not been exhibited here as it has elsewhere," he said, pointing to US President Barack Obama, who put e-health onto the agenda in his first address at the White House, the German Federal Health Minister Ulla Schmidt's spruiking of her country's e-health card and the tremendous drive in Singapore to get electronic health records up and running by 2010.

"What you see then in Australia because of this lack of leadership is that many of the states are pursuing their own separate visions of e-health programs," Boehncke said.”

Full article is here:

http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/Roxon-lost-on-e-health-opposition-claims/0,130061733,339295593,00.htm

Indeed the level of frustration by many of the stakeholders is also made clear here as well.

Urgent call for health records

Ben Woodhead and Brian Corrigan

The Australian Financial Review | 31 Mar 2009 | Page: 31 | Information.

"Health-care professionals and technology developers are pressing the federal government to use economic stimulus funds to implement national electronic health records (EHR).

Executives from organisations including the Australian Medical Association, hospital software developers, multinational IT firms and small business have joined the call. At stake, they say, is a project that would spur employment and export opportunities while introducing a potentially life-saving medical records system for Australian residents.

The push to re-invigorate efforts to create a national EHR has gained fresh momentum after US President Barack Obama announced he would provide $US19 billion ($27.4 billion) for e-health under his economic stimulus package.

AMA federal president Rosanna Capolingua describes the Obama plan as a very sensible use of stimulus funding, and urges the Rudd government to take similar action.

"Not only would this create jobs and infrastructure now, but it would also deliver an e-health record that's important for the future of Australians," Capolingua argues. "We have been concerned that the last two stimulus packages didn't put any money towards health. When you put money into health, you reap the returns over time."

IBA Health chief executive officer Gary Cohen agrees. IBA is Australia's largest software company with 4000 employees worldwide. Most staff are based offshore, working on projects such as the British public hospital sector's £12 billion ($24.8 billion) National Program for IT."

Much more here including more comments from Adam Powick of Deloittes and Peter Moon of VIACOE. (Subscription required)

http://www.afr.com/applications/Stock_mxml.html?pid=A&one=EDP://20090331000030991740

All NEHTA can say is that it hopes someone will provide the $2.0 Billion Gary Cohen suggests might be needed.

Minister Roxon, DoHA and NEHTA have been warned. Time has come to get their act together and move forward in a coherent fashion before it is too late!.

David.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Most people would agree with Mr Powick. “A real mess” sums it up.

But throwing truck loads of money around at this time will only make it worse. Using President Obama’s stimulus package as the reason why we should follow suit is not very smart. The same can be said for not using Germany and Singapore as justification for throwing more money at the problem. Lots of money results in lots of hype and frenzy leading to a bigger mess than what we already have particularly more so in these difficult financial times. Do we want to see that happen hear?

Anonymous said...

Agree. Good money after bad isn't what is needed right now, no matter how much these so called experts would like more over paid consultancy work. Anything to do with govt funding turns to turd in e-health and the less that is handed out, the less hangers on will be able to slow down progress.

NEHTA need to be given time and some competent staff to finish their core work program - vendors/market will take care of the rest.

Anonymous said...

All too true. We should be using what has already been handed out - but get this - we should be using it smarter. Let me repeat - we should be using it smarter.

We should be looking ever so carefully at how the money that has already been allocated is being spent. It should be perfectly clear to everyone that we have not got much value for the money which has been spent and we are not getting much value for what is currently being spent. It's hard to say it much clearer than that. As Kerry Packer said much the same thing to the Tax man - Why should I give you any more money than I have to? You don't know how to spend what you already get.

In short, we should be redeploying resources and reallocating scare funds to achieve better outcomes sooner.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes, but we also need first and foremost (as David says) “much improved management and leadership”. That is the absolute precursor to everything else.

At the moment we have management flipping flopping from pillar to post making mundane comments which destroy any semblance of credibility. We have a NEHTA Board that ain’t not gunner change. Heaven help us - stakeholder forums - clinical leads - talk fests - ad hoc pilots - ill conceived RFTs - and ePIPs - is that Leadership?!

Anonymous said...

Aligning major e-health projects is certainly a major challenge as Mr Powick said. So too is encouraging enough clinicians to use them to create a "tipping point". But that is a frighteningly formidable task when you think about the complexity of the politics and cultures operating across the multiplicity of environments all mixed up with the technological shortcomings revolving around such issues as interoperability, standards, secure messaging, and other building blocks on the pathway to realising that "tipping point".

What we need therefore is, if possible, to put into place one key tipping point and to build out from there. Or perhaps two or three key tipping points. Would anyone disagree with that?

Anonymous said...

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that the transfer of escripts between doctors and pharmacists is the hottest and most important “tipping point” in ehealth today. The Guild and the RAGP think so too.