Quote Of The Year

Quotes Of The Year - 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, May 12, 2010

A Few Details From Minister Roxon on the E-Health Plans. Now I am Really Confused!

The ABC’s World Today had an interesting interview with Ms Roxon on the e-Health plans.

Here are a few selected quotes.

Patient records go online

Melinda Howells reported this story on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 12:14:00

ASHLEY HALL: The Budget allocates almost half a billion dollars over two years for a new system of electronic health records.

Patients will be able to read the information online as will doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, and allied health workers.

Privacy is an obvious concern, but the Government says patients will be in control of their own information.

Doctors say what's been announced is still a long way from what's needed.

Melinda Howells reports.


MELINDA HOWELLS: Last night's Budget allocated almost half a billion dollars over two years to develop the new system. It aims to reduce medication mistakes, cut down on duplication, and give patients access to their own health records.

The Health Minister Nicola Roxon says participation is optional.

NICOLA ROXON: The new investment of $466 million allows us to build the system so that patients will importantly be able to access their own health information. The easiest way to think about is like the sort of banking you do online. You can access your statements and your details. The Commonwealth will not be holding the data. We will be building the parts of the system that link a doctor's records with a pharmacist's records, with a hospital discharge and it will be up to the patient to decide who can access that information and when.


MELINDA HOWELLS: The project is still in the planning stages, but Ms Roxon says privacy concerns have been addressed in the design of the system. She says the Government won't be storing the patient information.

NICOLA ROXON: Well, I think that is one of the big issues that is addressed by the Commonwealth not being the data warehouse, if you like, of this information. We'll in fact be holding and funding the links to the system each individual doctor or pharmacist or hospital service provider will retain information about an individual patient. But the convenience and protection this will give to patients is that you won't have to hunt around and make hundreds of calls to find out when you last had a vaccination.

MELINDA HOWELLS: Doctor Andrew Pesce says what's being proposed is only the first step down the road to a comprehensive national system of electronic health records, which is as useful to clinicians as it is to patients.

ANDREW PESCE: We're still only about 10 per cent of the way down that road. I mean, it's gonna take years something as big as this isn't going to happen overnight, there are lots of systems currently in place that have to be matched up. You just think about it, I mean every hospital has its own electronic health database, general practices do, some doctors don't have computers. All of this has to be married up into a seamless electronic health record. It's going to take some time.

MELINDA HOWELLS: Nicola Roxon says half a billion dollars is a big commitment.

NICOLA ROXON: Governments of past have put off making the decision to do this and our focus will be absolutely on these stages and of course there is business plan for the stages that can come after that. This investment, however, will give the momentum to taking electronic health records that step closer to reality in Australia.

ASHLEY HALL: The Health Minister Nicola Roxon ending that report from Melinda Howells.

The full report can be found here.


One question. Does anyone know what they are actually on about and how it is going to work. I sure don’t.

I note the Australian is asking about Google and Microsoft.


Will e-health records be outsourced to Google, Microsoft?

  • Karen Dearne and Fran Foo
  • From: Australian IT
  • May 12, 2010 2:46PM

opinion | OVER the past few months, federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has kept mum on who exactly will run the proposed electronic health records system.

Will it be the private sector, Medicare, or some other government body? Will it be handed over to health insurers to manage? The crystal ball is still blurry, but we're hopeful Ms Roxon's office will clear the air once and for all today (if she responds to our query).

There have been murmurs in the industry for some time that the government was primed to "outsource" the administration of e-health records to commercial providers, although Ms Roxon has refused to confirm or deny the speculation.

Yesterday's federal budget added more fuel to the fire; look no further than Treasurer Wayne Swan's carefully selected delivery of the new funding regime for e-health records


Make of all this what you will!



Anonymous said...

A hopeless situation all round. Quite pathetic. I think it's time to sellup and get out of the health software business. Are there any buyersout there?

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that well directed e-Health investment is required, but I am not at all confident that this is it.

We have had 10 years of directing eHealth investment into Government, or quasi government "Authorities" and the lack of progress has been uniformly atrocious.

There are no published, let alone industry supported architectures for rolling this out and I fail to see why this half a billion $ investment has any more substance than what has come before, or the other recent government initiatives... such as the insulation fiasco.

I do not see any indication that the government is learning from either its mistakes, or the mistakes of the UK or Canada etc etc

Let's hope some credible technical details are released soon. I would have thought that having an Industry supported plan would be a prerequisite for investing this huge sum of money and promising such a quick delivery. The ability of governments to manage technical projects is very poor and the odds of success must be very low, even with the rose coloured pre-election glasses on.

Anonymous said...

At least it is not confusing for pharmacies!

The Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, just announced by the Pharmacy Guild, sure demonstrates the power of an effective lobby group (spelled u-n-i-o-n). Pharmacists get 15 cents per electronic script – as long as it has been provided electronically by the doctor – who gets nothing!

At least pharmacy software vendors have a case for charging a share of the 15 cents to their clients for providing the technology solution to enable this revenue stream.

If the turkeys at DOHA can work out a sustainable funding model for eDispensing, why can’t they manage to get it right for the rest of eHealth??

Anonymous said...

"If the turkeys at DOHA can work out a sustainable funding model for eDispensing why can’t they manage to get it right for the rest of eHealth??"

Let's get the facts right and on the record.

The "turkeys at DOHA" as you describe them had nothing to do with getting the funding model for eDispensing into place. When it was put to them on more than one occasion going back as far as five years ago by some entrepreneurial thinkers in the private sector they scratched their beaks and pecked the ground - in short they didn't understand. I'm not even sure they understand today - but they have adopted the model for the moment until they find another way to take back control.

So that should explain why they can't and never will get it right for the rest of eHealth. What we need is a new way of approaching the thinking required to develop a sustainable business model. Unfortunately, the mentality that prevails to block such thinking is twofold (i) oh we've never done it that way before & (ii) the public sector rules and regulations don't allow us to think like that.

Anonymous said...

I can vouch for that Thursday, May 13, 2010 10:48:00 AM. But there was one other factor in play that you have overlooked. Namely, it is true they didn't understand the business model and what they did understand they didn't like.

The fact is they didn't want to lose control and they didn't want to pay software developers a click fee for every script processed. This stance blocked their thinking processes.

Anonymous said...

What you're saying is - they wanted total control but didn't know how to get it and they couldn't think in all the dimensions required to understand what it was they couldn't understand!!!

Anonymous said...

Got it. No wonder they haven't made much progress in ehealth.