Thursday, February 03, 2011

NEHTA Receives Yet More Money and a Blog Correspondent Responds! Astonishingly Fun Stuff if it Were Not So Sad!

We had the following appear yesterday.

NEHTA scores $38.5m for e-health record rollout

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • February 02, 2011 5:49PM

THE federal Health department has released $38.5 million to the National E-Health Transition Authority for the next stage of the $467m personally-controlled e-health record rollout.

Under the six-month contract to June 30, NEHTA will provide management support services as private-sector partners are hired for four key roles: a national infrastructure partner; a change and adoption partner; a benefits realisation partner and an external assurance adviser.

Bidders are currently being sought for the benefits realisation partner, whose brief is to monitor and measure progress through an analytical and evaluation framework. The tender deadline has been extended a week to February 18, after potential candidates called for more information on the PCEHR program. Bidders seek details.

NEHTA chief executive Peter Fleming said the $38.5m was the first funding to be released for the PCEHR work.

“As you would expect, there will be a number of very significant builds underway this year,” he said.

“On the infrastructure side, there’ll be an indexing service, repository services and template services, so we’re looking for an infrastructure partner, or partners, for that.

More here:

The news is also covered here:

NEHTA receives next instalment of $466.7m e-health project

The funding of $38.7 million will assist the organisation in the next stage of its personally-controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) project

The National e-health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has confirmed it has received the latest tranche of a total of $466.7 million in funding from the Federal Department of Health for the next stage of its personally-controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) project.

According to a NEHTA spokesperson, the funding will be provided for a six month period to 30 June this year under which the organisation will provide management support services as private-sector partners are hired for four key roles: a national infrastructure partner; a change and adoption partner; a benefits realisation partner and an external assurance adviser.

The PCEHR project is scheduled to deliver an e-health record for all Australians by June 2012 and will enable medical records to be transferred between medical providers such as hospitals and general practitioner doctors electronically, rather than through paper records.

The NEHTA spokesperson did not comment on future funding plans for upcoming stage of the project, stating the Federal Government would make its own announcement on future funding.

More here:

The first of these two provoked this astonishing response from a reader:

Anonymous said...

I read your post and 5 minutes later read an article in the Australian about NEHTA getting an additional $38.5 million to spend over a mere 6 month contract to project manage the next bureacratic stage of the fanciful PCEHR white elephant.

I work in the hospital system (and used to work for an Australian health IT vendor that folded about 5 years ago), but also have to visit outpatient services every month for Warfarin management. So I've been affected by the lack of e-health from a few different perspectives and I'm a real believer that simple use of appropriate information technologies can make a big difference in improving safety or helping patients have a better quality experience.

I read your post and then the big-noting, egotistical arrogance of NEHTA's CEO Peter Fleming and I could bearly contain the expletives.

I am disgusted, appalled, incensed, infuriated and incredulous at this waste. Patients in Australian hospitals and communities are suffering awful quality of care, unsafe hospitals because of poor morale, bad communication and poor morale of overloaded nurses and doctors, we have shockingly poor mental health treatment options and an indigenous population that dies 10 years before they should. We have a cyclone devastating North Queensland, floods displacing thousands in Queensland and Victoria and bushfires in NSW and Perth.

And some idiot believes that a good investment of tax-payer money is to spend $38.5 million for a bunch of bungling bureaucrats to decide how to spend the next $400million on eHealth projects that promise the world and deliver nothing. Then we have the audacity of the chief bungling bufoon, Peter Fleming to say "With the work on the other components, the benefits realisation, change management and so on, we’re going to see a lot of activity focused on communities this year.”

Not my bloody community!!!!

So with a rising blood pressure, I scanned the last five years of NEHTA's annual reports and only got more irate. Here's what NEHTA spent apparently and is likely to spend in 2010/11 (assuming this extra $38.5 million builds on last years base):

2006: $8.5 million
2007: $17.3 million
2008: $31.2 million
2009: $66.7 million
2010: $89.5 million
2011: $133.6 million

Total: $347 million

They've almost doubled their spending every single year. At this rate, they're doing better than Google or Facebook and could be a $4 billion business in just another 5 years!!

But I want to know the answer to this question: Having spent more than five years and a treasure chest of almost $350 million dollars, show me one single patient who has had a better experience, one single area of safety improvement or one single doctor or nurse who has been able to provide better care. I don't believe there is one and I can see no evidence from NEHTA of having achieved anything expect line their own pockets, justify their own existence and decimate a forest with paper documents.

I dowloaded a presentation from Leonie Katakar -Nehta's Director of Clinical Leadership (whatever that means) and found the last slide in her presentation said it all:

- Nehta is funded to provide the national infrastructure required to meet the needs of a clinically computerised and electronically connected health sector

-Computerisation and uptake of nehta products are the responsibility of the health sector

Wow - what a clinical leader you are. All care, no responsibility

When will there be some inquiry into this disgraceful waste - when will some auditor or politician hold these people to account? I find it deeply, deeply offensive.

---- End Comment.

I don’t know but the bar for quality comments has really been raised somehow in the last few months. Whoever you are - thanks - could not have said it better myself!

Of course this funding goes till June 30, 2011 -after that there will be more I guess - and even if the Tenders for these planned partners are all ready to roll - it seems unlikely even the procurements will be done by the time the funds run out - unless some extremely shonky procurement process - in the name of Government urgency - is undertaken.

So these will be pretty expensive tenders and those winning won’t have long to deliver before the July 1, 2012 PCHER pseudo and rather fraudulent deadline.

If the track record of delivery is anything to go by NEHTA are also not all that efficient at evaluation. We still don’t seem to have an outcome for the NASH Tender - released mid-September last year!

Of course we still don’t know what the PCEHR actually is as well but that seems to be a minor detail!

This all has the feeling of happening in some sort of parallel universe where you can buy things without specifications and find partners without knowing what they are to do!

Utter madness!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am flabbergasted.

"$38.5 million to spend over a mere 6 month contract"

It is not possible. That must be wrong.

“a NEHTA spokesperson, the funding will be provided for a six month period to 30 June this year.”

There are only 5 months till 30 June. However, using 6 months for the calculation this money needs to be expended at the rate of $210,000 every day or $296,000 every working day to 30 June 2011 !!


That sort of money should be directed at flood damaged infrastructure in QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS, and to cyclone ravaged areas of Australia where the full effect of the cyclone’s impact has yet to be determined.

But wait. NEHTA is also spending at least an additional $90 million. I say at least because that was the spend rate reported for 2010. So that’s another $346,000 every working day.

$642,000 a day?! for what?

Still, it’s not really quite that bad when you look at it if we use the COAG formula for funding NEHTA. The States and Territories fund 50% of NEHTA with the Federal Government picking up the bill for the remaining 50%.

So $642,000 divided by 2 equals $321,000 and with 9 state and territory jurisdictions dobbing in (presumably equal amounts) only $35,000 needs to be found every working day by QLD, NSW, VIC, etc.

It’s a tiny pittance is it not?

Anna Bligh are you happy with that?
Ted Baillieu are you happy with that?
Kristina Keneally are you happy about that?
Julia Gillard Prime Minister of all Australia – are you happy with that?

As your commentator Thursday, February 03, 2011 11:02:00 AM so correctly observed yesterday

“Only when the people who cast the votes realize what an obscene amount of money is being frittered away like this will the politicians take any notice.”