We had the big week for Health Informatics Conferences last week.
We had, surprisingly at the same time, the Annual Health Informatics Society of Australia Conference (HIC 2009) and CHIK Services. This simultaneous timing I must say I see as very odd..but there you are!
The first was HIC 2009 conducted by HISA.
HIC 2009 Canberra 19 - 21 August
Details can be found here as can downloads of all the presentations and papers from the 3 day conference that ran from Wednesday 19 August 2009 until the Friday.
The second was the one day conference run by CHIK Services
CHIK Services' Health-e-Nation’09
Theme: Health-e-Business: Economic & Social Imperatives of e-Health
Date: Wednesday 19 August 2009
Venue: BALLROOM, NATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE, CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA
Presentations can be found here where they have been made available.
It was at this conference that Ms Nicola Roxon spoke and I have already commented on the speech here:
I have now had the opportunity to chat with a few who attended these events.
This is the summary that appeared in the Australian today.
Costs holding up e-health
Karen Dearne | August 25, 2009
THE health technology sector went to Canberra last week but received not much more than the Rudd government's best regards.
With healthcare "at a tipping point", Health Minister Nicola Roxon said, the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission report had provided a blueprint "for the most significant reform since the introduction of Medicare 25 years ago" -- largely based on the benefits e-health could deliver.
"Fast-forward 50 years," she said. "Can you imagine our health system without instant access to our medical records?
"Where you have to carry your X-rays to each appointment, or have test results posted to your doctor? Where a simple click could deliver so much information, but doesn't because we didn't take action when we should have?
"It's unthinkable. I want our future health system to be connected, secure and efficient."
But cost is the sticking point. Ms Roxon said the reform commission put the price of a nationwide individual e-health record system at between $1.1 billion and $1.8bn -- "that's serious money, and it will require serious consideration".
Lots more here:
A more detailed article is found here:
Karen Dearne | August 20, 2009
FEDERAL Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is offering $60 million in funding for new remote and rural health, emergency response and education projects that will be rolled out on the back of the national broadband network.
Senator Conroy has invited e-health "innovators" to provide expressions of interest for projects due to begin in early 2010 as part of the government's Digital Regions Initiative.
"The program aims for strong collaboration between the private sector and all levels of government, and I look forward to seeing the proposals," he told the Health Informatics Conference 2009 in Canberra.
"The implications of the NBN and the advance of ICT in the health and aged care sectors are profound.
"Already, in fledgling projects, we are starting to see the benefits of remote diagnosis and care, connecting patients in regional hospitals with specialists in capital cities. Early stage online file sharing and records access is helping regional doctors to become more efficient."
Much more here:
As far as the Health-e-Nation conference we have the following reports.
Karen Dearne | August 19, 2009
FEDERAL Health Minister Nicola Roxon says proposed cuts in the private health insurance rebate for wealthy couples could fund a national e-health program that would benefit all Australians.
Ms Roxon told the Health-e-Nation conference in Canberra that legislation that would reap $1.9 billion in savings was being delayed in the Senate, "so I suggest that people call their local senator and explain that these measures could actually pay for the entire e-health agenda".
In her first appearance at an industry forum, Ms Roxon said health IT was now "at the front and centre" of the new blueprint for health reform.
"The Rudd Government is determined the commonwealth has a major role to play in driving the rollout of e-health," she said.
"With the states we have already committed to funding of $208 million over next three years for the foundation work being done by the National E-Health Transition Authority and my department is working closely with NEHTA on e-prescribing, e-pathology, e-referrals and e-discharge."
But regardless of the success of technical aspects, Ms Roxon said e-health won't realise its potential without ensuring the privacy and security of personal information.
Lots more here:
Second, and to me much more important we have this.
Karen Dearne | August 20, 2009
AUSTRALIAN Medical Association president Andrew Pesce has signalled concerns about plans for patient-controlled e-health records.
Dr Pesce believes provider-controlled input is needed to improve quality of care and reduce adverse health outcomes.
"The current debate is very much about who should control the e-health record, with the National E-Health Transition Authority and the National Health and Hospitals Commission pushing a patient-controlled model," he told the Health-e-Nation conference in Canberra.
"We are open to patients controlling access to their summary e-record, with some exceptions such as access by emergency physicians.
"But summary e-records are fundamentally a clinical tool to aid doctors and other health professionals in sharing accurate information about an individual, and will be an adjunct to the comprehensive patient record kept by the doctor."
Dr Pesce said e-health records must find the balance between efficiency and privacy, with protection of patient privacy the critical factor in gaining acceptance.
Again lots more here:
It is excellent to see the AMA understands where the strategic priorities lie!
All this confirms all I have heard from others who attended, especially the sense that while the need to e-health implementation was well understood at the highest level, but just how it was actually going to be got up and running is still pretty vague.
I look forward to clarity emerging in the next few months.
BTW. Congratulations to Karen Dearne for her efforts in bringing frankness and insight to the way e-Health is being reported in Australia. The HISA Journalist of the Year Award was well deserved. She certainly makes my job easier!