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."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Government Proposes Some Vague e-Health Ideas, or is There a Plan? Who Knows!

This is what is in the Budget for e-Health.

National Health and Hospitals Network — eHealth — personally controlled electronic health records

Expense ($m)

2010‑11 185.6 Million

2011‑12 281.2 Million

The Government will provide $466.7 million over two years to establish the key components of the personally controlled electronic health record system for Australia. This secure online system will enable improved access to health care information, commencing in 2012‑13.

This funding will provide the capability to produce nationally consistent patient health summaries from existing and compliant information sources. Patients who choose to participate will be able to securely access, and permit their healthcare providers to access, their health information. Personally controlled health records will over time be capable of incorporating a range of health information, such as a patient's general health history, pathology and radiology summaries and prescription information. This will support more informed clinical assessments and decision making, improve continuity of care for patients and introduce efficiencies in health care service delivery.

The measure builds on the Healthcare Identifiers Service, which is being developed as a foundation service for eHealth initiatives in Australia. Healthcare identifiers will allow for accurate identification of patients and health care providers and provider organisations. Subject to the passage of legislation, $0.5 million per annum in existing funding will be provided to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for regulatory support in relation to health care identifiers in 2010‑11 and 2011‑12.

In order to fully realise the significant benefits of this Commonwealth investment, State and Territory governments will also need to continue their planned or expected investments in core health information systems. The States and Territories will also need to provide the complementary investments to build their capacity in readiness for connection to this national system.

Sounds fine – I wonder what the business case for this vagueness it. Maybe it is there is a lot more detail somewhere else, and we will see it in due course!

There is also an item for the Pharmacists:

The measure will also provide funding of $375.3 million over six years (including $91.8 million in 2014‑15) to implement new initiatives under the agreement. These include:

  • a range of new patient‑focused pharmacy programs including patient medication monitoring (at a cost of $285.5 million);
  • a 15 cent payment to pharmacists for every prescription processed electronically with a National E‑Health Transition Authority specifications (at a cost of $82.6 million); and
  • collection of data on pharmaceuticals that are priced below the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme general co‑payment (currently $33.30) including patient, prescriber and dispenser demographic data (at a cost of $7.2 million).

Does anyone know if that specification actually exists and has been tested etc?

I guess we will have to wait for more detail, but note how there is no mention of the Private Sector, just the States and Territories!

I wonder who is going to manage all this money. Not clear right now!

Can they possibly start spending all this money in less than 2 months? That may be a real prescription (forgive the pun) for waste and mismanagement!

You can read the detailed press release here:




Anonymous said...

This is really great news, just what Australia needs - only concerned about the timeframe and amount. But its a start at least!

Anonymous said...

I'm also pleased to see that the Minister is saying that even more money is to come, contingent upon progress with the current tranche of funding. That seems sensible.

I think I would have been more worried if the full COAG business case had been funded, ahead of the national e-health house getting in order. This is probably a 'right' sized step - more than enough to start things rolling, but not so much (a la English NHS) that the money is just poured down the gurgler because it just has to be spent, and there is no time to think about whether the expenditure is sensible.

Caveat knowing about the implementation strategy for this cash, I am pleased.

Anonymous said...

Software developers should be delighted at the prospect their might be some money in these announcements for some of them. First the Department will need to establish a new Personal eHealth Record section and redeploy or reemploy 'some' public servants to make it all happen.

Anonymous said...

$466.7 million over two years to establish the key components of the personally controlled electronic health record system for Australia.

I have a few simple questions like:

1. What has NEHTA been doing the last 4 years or so?

2. On what activities / products / services do they propose spending this money?

3. Is this $466.7 million tied into the Deloitte National eHealth Strategy?

4. How much of this money is earmarked for NEHTA?

5. Who is developing the “secure online system”?

6. What “complementary investments” are expected of the States and Territories in order to build their capacity “in readiness for connection to this national system”?

Dr David G More MB PhD said...

A good list of questions - mine are in a separate blog just posted!


Anonymous said...

“…. Every prescription processed electronically with a National E-Health Transition Authority specifications ….” ………… “Does anyone know if that specification actually exists and has been tested etc?”

Shouldn’t NEHTA be working on it with the private sector?

Anonymous said...

...why do folks constantly rattle on, usually without any real science, about the UK NHS when trying to prove a point about largesse or mistakes in health IT etc? - for what its worth, no country has ever attempted an information age transformation on that scale of investment - yes mistakes have been made, but great progress in health information systems in that country have also been made.......balance and looking under the headlines for other lessons from NHS may help us all here in Australia from time to time..?..