Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sometimes Politicians Really Comes Out With Rubbish. This Is One of the Worst.

The following appeared today.

Roxon demands Coalition admits it was wrong on e-health

HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon will seek an admission from the Coalition that it was wrong on e-health.

She will also seek Coalition support for health IT measures in the new parliament.

"The Coalition does not believe in e-health," she told The Australian.

"Despite all the experts uniting to support the Gillard government's $467 million e-health investment, the Coalition wanted to cut the funding.

"A key question during this parliament will be whether the Coalition is prepared to accept they were wrong, and support our work."

Ms Roxon said the introduction of a patient controlled e-health system had the potential to save lives and money.

"It is one part of the government's plan to build a health system for the future, through investing and building up services," she said.

Opposition response follows:


In summary they say because of previous examples of “waste and mismanagement” they are sceptical.

Can I say I just despair about the quality of this debate. We have Labor pushing a totally ill-defined plan that is supported by virtually no evidence base I have seen (if Anon knows where this evidence is hiding I would love a link!) and we have the Opposition coming up with oppositionistic platitudes!

How can the Opposition admit they were wrong when they have not been provided with any real information about just what is being proposed in any credible detail.

As we have this drivel emitting from our politicians we have this from Canada:

Canada invests $500 million in electronic health record (EHR) systems with a focus on physicians and nurse practitioners across Canada

September 27, 2010 (Toronto, ON) - Canadian physicians and nurse practitioners will benefit from a $500 million investment made by the Government of Canada in Budget 2010, announced Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway (Infoway).

Of the total amount allocated to Infoway, $380 million of the new money will be directed to speed up the implementation of electronic medical record systems.

EMR systems are the gateway that will enable physicians and nurse practitioners to securely access vital patient information including diagnostic images, blood test results, drug histories and clinical reports.

"A number of provinces and territories are making solid progress developing systems to electronically store the patient information that is far too often unavailable when health providers need it," said Alvarez. "The time has come to shift our attention to the front-lines, where the lion's share of care is delivered, so more physicians and nurse practitioners can access and retrieve the information stored in these systems."

EMRs will provide physicians and nurse practitioners with a better picture of their patients' overall health so better informed care decisions can be made. They also allow health care professionals to record their clinical notes electronically, eliminating the need for inefficient paper-based systems.

"Electronic medical records will allow health professionals to access the vital patient information that is too often lacking in a paper-based environment," added Alvarez. "Currently, 37 per cent of community-based physicians have adopted EMR systems across Canada. The new funding is intended to significantly increase their use in clinics, clinician offices and ambulatory care clinics."

In addition, funding from the $500 million invested by the Government of Canada will be used to support consumer health, diagnostic imaging and telehealth solutions.

Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of electronic health record projects in Canada.

The release is found here:


At least Canada is smart enough to direct resources where the focus is needed in my view. And before everyone comments I do know most GPs are using some form of EHR but that is by no means the case in other forms of practice.

We would do much better to get all clinicians properly supported by quality EMR systems (with integrated clinical decision support) and get those systems properly networked and sharing information appropriately before heading down what I suspect will be a wasteful ‘wild goose chase’ of the PCEHR.

I believe we have taken a very bad strategic step to plan to move down this path. Time will doubtless tell!


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