Thursday, October 07, 2010

Have We Reached A Tipping Point in Australian E-Health? It Feels Like it To Me!

It has been a very interesting week in E-Health so far.

What seems to be happening is that there is a consensus building that we can do better than we are at present and that at least one major obstacle is the overall way we are attempting to deliver the e-Health infrastructure we so badly need.

In the first of the two recent papers in the Medical Journal of Australia from Drs Pearce and Haikerwal what I read is a concern that there has been a failure of co-ordination and integration of the e-Health effort and a lack of momentum being developed behind what are very important projects.

They do not seem to allocate blame but anyone who has browsed these pages will be pretty clear I see the blame as lying in a failure to develop appropriate, funded and properly inclusive governance mechanisms. This seems to be a view the authors pretty unambiguously agree with.

More details on this paper are here:

In the second paper by Professors Westbrook and Braithwaite I see two pretty clear messages. The first is that we need to take advantage of the flexibility and capabilities of ICT to design a better health system based on what is now possible, rather than the strictures of the past.

The second is that there really has to be much greater clarity around what each of the actors in the system are planning and that again there needs to be improved co-ordination across all sections of the health sector to ensure the advantages of technology are properly exploited.

More details on this paper are here:

Considering all this as a whole and the covert sense of frustration I detect in both papers with what is presently happening there must be a point at which the polity becomes involved and genuinely sorts all the barriers in leadership and governance out.

We really need to see the emergence of some energy and urgency to address what a clear failings we all recognise is one form or other.

To not act soon would be a gross dereliction of duty on the part of all our health ministers and health bureaucracy.

What is now needed is for these authors and others to speak clearly to DoHA and NEHTA and let them know what is happening now is simply not good enough!

I hope it will happen and soon!


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