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Friday, May 29, 2009

Are There “Green Shoots” Appearing for Australian E-Health?

The following was circulated by Dr Michael Legg earlier today to the Coalition for eHealth and Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) mailing lists.

It is reproduced here with Michael’s permission.

----- Begin Release

Dear Colleague,

eHealth Lobbying

When last the Coalition for eHealth met, Booz/NHHRC, Deloitte’s and NEHTA provided their perspectives on national plans for eHealth in Australia. There was agreement among the CeH members at the well-attended meeting that the next step should be to lobby the Commonwealth for the further development of the national eHealth strategy and for its full funding.

Subsequent to that meeting a lobbying framework was developed and work was commenced on developing a position statement, supporting fact sheets and putting together a small group to visit Canberra. The lobbying visit was scheduled for early June.

As happens in life from time to time, those careful plans were overtaken by events, and through the good graces of Prue Power and the AHHA, at a couple of days notice the opportunity arose to meet with many of the key people that we had planned to target.

So yesterday Prue and I (together with colleagues from the AHHA Dentistry and Governance Groups) met with Minister Nicola Roxon, Shadow Minister Peter Dutton, Senator Judith Adams (Deputy Opposition Whip in the Senate and member of the Senate Community Affairs Committee) and Senator Gary Humphries (Chair of the Liberal Social Policy Committee). A meeting with an adviser to the Prime Minister was also arranged but unfortunately was cancelled at the last moment.

The meeting with Peter Dutton was as positive as it could have been. He began by acknowledging that there had not been the progress there should have been with the previous Government and then asked us to convey to the Minister the willingness of the opposition to support a 10 year eHealth program on a bipartisan basis! It will come as no surprise we did just that in our meeting with the Minister later that day.

Our meetings with the Senators reinforced the CeH consensus statement on a national plan and provided background for the Senators who were preparing for Senate Estimates next week.

The meeting with Minister Roxon too was very up-beat although she was careful to manage expectations. She made clear that the Government recognised both workforce and eHealth were important issues and that Government had been working hard on them and that she expected that there would be significant policy announcements within 6 months. She indicated that the ‘business case’, nudged off the agenda for the last COAG meeting by the GFC, is now slated for the July COAG meeting. She also indicated that there was money outside the budget that could be used for eHealth although she also said that times were tough and how much had not been determined. All cause for optimism!

Michael Legg,

29th May 2009

----- End Release

Sounds pretty good to me! We will have to now see if we can keep all these players to their words!

Have a great weekend!

David.

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