Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Now Here Is a Good Place for Mr Rudd to Spend some Health Funds!

Again, today we have a major spending announcement from the Federal Government as we head towards the COAG Health System Summit on the 19th of April, 2010.
See here:

PM announces towns to get cancer centres

April 7, 2010 - 1:04PM
AAP
Kevin Rudd and his team have taken to regional Australia to spread the word about which bush centres will get new or upgraded cancer treatment facilities.
The cancer treatment centres will be funded through a $560 million fund, announced in last year's budget.
The prime minister is in Townsville on Wednesday spruiking his health and hospital reform plans.
The government is continuing a slow release of health announcements as part of its strategy to win over premiers to the plan, which would see the commonwealth take over majority funding of public hospitals.
They need to get on board before a Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) meeting on April 19.
In a statement, Mr Rudd said patients in the bush had higher mortality rates with some cancers.
"With some cancers, patients from rural areas are up to three times more likely to die within five years of diagnosis than their urban counterparts," he said.
"Regional Cancer Centres will enable regional Australians to receive care closer to home and their community."
Full article is here:
I guess as we see the odd ½ billion here and there pretty soon it will add up to ‘real money’. Don’t get me wrong this is vitally needed infrastructure for a segment of the population who have fallen well behind in clinical outcomes.
However I have a suggestion for a few percent of that amount which would also make a difference.
Yesterday the US announced the following:

ONC awards $84 million to expand health IT workforce


By Mary Mosquera
Monday, April 05, 2010

The Office of the National Health IT Coordinator last week awarded $84 million in grants to 16 universities and junior colleges to develop education and training programs to boost the number of skilled health IT workers available to help healthcare providers over the hurdles of adopting health IT.
ONC aims over time to reduce an estimated shortage of 50,000 workers in the health IT sector of the economy. That workforce is an important part of making the meaningful use of electronic health records a reality, said Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator, in the announcement April 2.
Among the grant awards, five community colleges received $36 million to establish a multi-institutional program within each designated region, totaling up to 70 community colleges participating. The awardees included Pitt Community College in North Carolina, and Bellevue College in Washington.
Each college will create non-degree training programs that can be completed in six months or less. The training program will focus on people who already have some background in health or information technology. Another $34 million will be available to the community colleges in the second year.
Lots more detail here
Now I am sure for an amount of less than $10 million we could establish and staff 3-4 lead centres across the country and leverage what we already have into a real capability that could really stimulate interest and provide the skills we will surely need at some time in the future.
Of course I am sure a good deal of the course development work being done in the US could also be of much use here!
Some small seeding funds could build the relationships etc needed to make a serious start!
I know work has been done on all this by the Australian Health Informatics Education Council
See:
Also see here for a recent document looking at the area globally.

National and international health informatics workforce and education initiatives, methodologies used and outcomes achieved:

a review of the literature

Prof Evelyn J S Hovenga
Project Officer for the ACHI Education Committee
A draft for presentation to and input by members of the interim AHIEC
January 2010
Additionally DoHA has also undertaken some workforce assessment ages ago under the Australian Health Information Council banner:
See here:
Since then there has also been other sporadic work over time culminating in a major review undertaken by HISA and funded by DoHA.
See here:
Essentially we have had enough reports. Time for action and the spending of a few dollars! Of course I am also a bit worried that all the free money will be used up - we do have a few dollars of debt at present, post GFC you know! - and that there will be nothing for e-Health!
David.

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