An amazing blog was published on the MISAustralia site yesterday. Here is the beginning:
Nursed back to health
Tuesday, 07 July 2009 | Julian Bajkowski
Australia's marathon journey towards creating a national electronic health and medical records scheme took a small but important step towards becoming a reality last week.
But you wouldn't know it for all the incessant whinging about the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) that keeps coming from the sidelines.
After more than a year looking at practical ways to fix a deeply fragmented health system, a group of experts appointed by Kevin Rudd the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission has handed over its report the Health Minister Nicola Roxon.
When it comes to health reforms, politics is everything, so you'd think the release of NHHRC report would have been a day that those with an interest e-health in watched carefully? if only to sniff the wind and see which way Kevin Rudd's reformist sentiments are blowing.
The response from the established glee club of e-health critics was to bark the usual warnings that funding NEHTA to coordinate the delivery of e-health in Australia is a grave mistake because the organisation just isn't competent to deliver what it promises.
It was a stupid and poorly-timed response, because of the assumption that the policy driver to deliver electronic health revolves around funding NEHTA.
The uptake of e-health largely revolves around the will of state health ministers to prioritise e-health projects over other frontline issues that grab headlines and lose votes (in marginal electorates).
For politicians, the bottom line is that e-health is a nebulous and remote concept that means little to the average punter on a waiting list or in waiting room. NEHTA means even less.
For much more amusement read on here:
I need to say a few things about this blog.
First – clearly someone has been having a chat to a journalist (or two) expressing unhappiness that there is not just utter silence around NEHTA’s failure to perform.
Second – for all the huff and puff – part of NEHTA’s initial brief was to actually develop the business case for the IEHR and put it to Government. Those who read the blog will know I think the NEHTA IEHR is badly thought through and ill conceived and that there is no way NEHTA has the skills or the capability to deliver a project like this.
Third it seems to me that the blogger has much more faith in the capability of the NHHRC in the e-Health domain than the rest of us do – after the interim paper from a month or two ago. Essentially it is my view they have not absorbed the capabilities and utility of e-Health at all!
Fourth the blogger seems to totally forget that for e-Health to happen needs top-level political leadership. I have been pointing that out for years, and nothing will succeed if that is absent. The members in the marginal electorates will do as they are told (famous ALP discipline) – it’s the leadership that is vital here – and that is what is missing. All else is frippery.
Fifth, to be seeing e-Health as an enabler of ‘administrative reform’ shows how out of touch the blogger is with the purpose of e-Health. As I said in yesterday’s blog:
“The reason is that NEHTA does not really understand what e-Health is actually for. The answer is that it is to enable and facilitate safer, more consistent, evidence based and more efficient patient care. It is that simple, and as soon as you grasp just how dangerous, random and inefficient the present system is even the dumbest politician would want lots of it.”
To be honest I think our blogger understands even less about e-Health than NEHTA – and that is a big call!
I won’t go on – the blog is worth of a response, but really adds very little to what we already know. It’s a bit sad there was not a link to my article. See here:
Maybe if the blogger was being a little more journalist like he might have chosen to seek more than one side of the story.
The ‘powers that be’ clearly want all this pressure to stop. Sadly it won’t. Even if I fade out – someone will take over!