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Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

NEHTA is Leaking Like A Sieve – A Symptom The Organisation is in Deep Trouble I Suspect.

The following just dropped over the fence into my lap today.

Document Title.

Unique Health Indicator Project

Project Health Check

National eHealth Transition Authority

Date: 13 March 2009

The authors of the document are SMS Management and Technology – a listed technology consulting firm.

I think quoting from the Executive Summary says all that is needed.

Executive Summary

Review Approach

This report details the results of a project health check undertaken of the Unique Health Identifier (UHI) project at nehta. The project review was undertaken over 10 days and involved in-depth interviews of project team members, suppliers and senior managers and a review of key project artefacts. The report assesses the UHI project’s health in 14 key elements, notes any exceptions to these findings and makes recommendations for improving the health of the project. Annex A outlines the approach to interviews and questionnaires used in the review.

Using the intelligence gathered through the project health check (scored in Annex B), an assessment has been made of the project’s ability to deliver. Overall, the Unique Health Identifier project is rated as RED. Unless significant changes are implemented, this project will not deliver agreed scope within timeline or quality tolerances. There are critical issues and concerns that exist within the project that require management intervention by the project sponsor, programme management and other senior management.

Summary of Key Findings

There is a lack of organisational project management and delivery competencies

Dysfunctional Project team environment

o UHI team communication is intermittent, piecemeal, reactive and selective

o UHI team lacks clarity as to team and individual deliverables

o No clear critical path or project plan and supporting roadmap for the Pilot

o Management of scope definition and scope creep has been a major cause of project delay

UHI team members are confused as to the role and accountabilities of the UHI team and nehta

. There is confusion between the following roles:

o governance oversight

o policy concept development

o delivery and design

o stakeholder marketer or advocate

Medicare team members also have some confusion as to nehta’s role in relation to the project

Lack of clarity on all aspects of the Pilot

o There is no documented description of the deliverable, no critical path, no comprehensive allocation of responsibilities for team members, or current risks and issues log

o There may be contractual changes required to enable delivery and operation of the December Pilot

o Some team members lack confidence in the team’s ability to deliver to the December 2009 deadline

· Medicare working relationship at the non-executive level is fractured

· Project governance structure is not clear and has been ineffective

· Lack of effective private sector stakeholder engagement

Summary of Key Recommendations

H.1. Immediate focus on scoping and planning for the December 2009 pilot

H.2. Lock down scope to ensure no more scope creep

H.3. Invest in addressing the UHI team’s morale issues

H.4. Improve team communications on the critical path and team accountabilities

H.5. Establish a streamlined governance structure for December 2009 delivery

H.6. More actively manage risks and issues at all levels within the UHI project

H.7. Maintain joint Medicare and nehta executive sponsorship with a focus on improving the working relationship between nehta and Medicare

H.8. Engage key internal and external stakeholders on the December 2009 Pilot

H.9. Build organisational project management competencies

H.10. Implement a structured project methodology immediately

----- End Extract.

That less than 12 months ago the HI project was in this state reflects pretty badly on all concerned – one can only hope it is much, much better now!

At a broader level it seems to me that so much arriving in just a day or so just shows how dysfunctional NEHTA has become and how a much broader review of all that is going on is really warranted.

I am sure there is enough information here for an FOI request for the full document to have the desired effect now we are told NEHTA is subject to FOI. See here for details.

Peter West (in a comment found here)


told us:

Where does this idea that NEHTA is not subject to FOI come from?

I have an email from Jim Claremont, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to the effect that NEHTA has been identified as an agency for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth).

FOI requests for NEHTA documents can be lodged with
Department of Health and Ageing
GPO Box 9848
FOI Contact Officer is on 02 6289 1718.

Go for it!

----- End Comment.

I am also told there have been a large number of staff also leaving in the last few months and that this is, in part, due to the rather poor organisational culture. Looking today NEHTA has 17 jobs advertised which seems high for an organisation with of the order of 150 people.

The sooner a formal review is undertaken the better in my humble opinion.



Anonymous said...

From what I have seen, things have moved on, and SMS were not that constructive in moving the project forward, and if anything, also hindered many aspects. This report is before the December delivery which was achieved.Staff turnover is natural and the advertisements are more likely to fill gaps from the departure of consultants and provide capacity going forward A positive move I am told from those within at the working level. Time will tell if all for the positive.

Dr David G More MB PhD said...

Sounds good. I guess if we see some more transparency then we might even believe it!

Others certainly have another perspective I have to say.


Anonymous said...

How did you come by this report? Did it come from a disillusioned employee who had left the organisation and taken with him copies of documents that he had no authority to remove? If so it could be construed you are the receiver of stolen goods - what do you think about that?

Dr David G More MB PhD said...

I don't think most bloggers and journalists reveal their sources and neither will I.


Anonymous said...

Nor should they. Where would we be if free speech was not permitted. Witness the SA Attorney-General's humungous backflip last night. He tried to make it illegal for bloggers to lodge comments ANON. Ever so wisely last night he reversed his decision. Long live the ANON Blogger - we must have some protection from being victimised by the incompetents for bringing their incompetence to the light of day.

Anonymous said...

Your blogspot is a classic case in point with one proviso - the ANON Blogger must at all times be guided by the principles of what is ethical and responsible. From what I have observed your bloggers adhere to those principles. I'm sure you would agree.

Anonymous said...

I think that is correct. Even NEHTA would probably agree, if ever so reluctantly.

Anonymous said...

> I don't think most bloggers and journalists
> reveal their sources and neither will I.

So your calls for transparencey are a strictly one way street! *rolls eyes*

Dr David G More MB PhD said...


Publicly funded organisations should be transparent.

No need for individuals to follow suit that I can see.

*rolls eyes back*


Juanita said...

Comments and analyses re the Australian eHealth shorcomings are being analysed and reported all around the world. Discussions are even making it onto various podcasts from OS. I'm glad people like People David inform the consumer voice even though authorities may not like to hear his comments. Public, open and transparent discussion is the way forward, not confidential reports.

Anonymous said...

What is happening at NeHTA is a accurate reflection of what is happening in other other health departments around the nation. The government and associated bodies need to ensure adequate research/stakeholder engagement is undertaken before force feeding a'solution'.