Just after yesterday’s blog was finalised I came across the following. It really follows on from the theme begun yesterday.
Rudd should appoint Minister for eHealth: CSC
by James Riley
Tuesday, 08 September 2009
So complex are the technology issues related to proposed health care reforms, the Rudd Government should consider appointing a Minister for eHealth to assist Nicola Roxon, US technology services giant CSC has proposed.
The scale of health care reform being proposed by Government – with much of it driven by IT – “could be more important than the introduction of Medicare” in the 1970, according to CSC Australia director of health services Lisa Pettigrew said.
“There are many ways to solve this, but one of the ideas that we have is that maybe its time for (the appointment of) a Minister for eHealth … to support the Minister for Health,” Pettigrew told iTWire.
“Unless we’ve got political leadership specifically looking at eHealth, (it will be difficult to implement.)
“eHealth is not an urgent issue like … Swine Flu, but you know what? I like my Health Minister to be focused on urgent health issues, but I still want someone constantly looking at eHealth and keeping that as a priority too,” Pettigrew said. “It is that important.”
CSC’s eHealth Minister proposal was given only tepid support from Labor’s Kate Lundy, who says the technology complexities at Health are the same as those faced by other service delivery agencies like the ATO and Centrelink.
“What is needed is a coordinated and strong political leadership that advocates principles of engagement in an online environment,” Senator Lundy told iTWire.
In yesterday’s blog I was lamenting the apparent lack of co-ordination between the Broadband Minister, the Health Minister and the various Departments.
Well can I say I think this is just a ‘bridge too far’, but I very much agree with the comments of Senator Lundy when she says “What is needed is a coordinated and strong political leadership that advocates principles of engagement in an online environment”!
The issue right now is that there is no leadership (weak or strong) and so we see the ‘silliness’ which I know frustrates and annoys so many who read here.
My feeling is that what is needed is something like the US National Co-Ordinator for Health IT and an office like ONCHIT (Office of the National Co-Ordinator of Health IT) with a Prime Ministerial Mandate and a Budget to get on with it! An absorbed NEHTA would provide some of the technical grunt while other required areas would be established anew.
The equivalent office in Australia should be established with legislation, just as the US equivalent has been, which defines goals, objectives, funding and powers etc.
Without that sort of focus you can be sure we will get pretty much nowhere!