Amazingly, this morning, I had 2 e-mails from CEO’s of private e-Health companies in Australia within half an hour on the same topic.
Both had a pretty simple message.
They both felt that the management and delivery of e-Health in Australia was bordering on the disastrous but they both felt that the commercial cost of them speaking out - not only in terms of their own companies and the people who rely on them for a salary - with what amounts to a single funder of e-Health in Australia - would be personally and financially a risk that they were not prepared to take just yet.
Both, however, made it clear that they were reaching a point where they were going to go down with their ships shouting ‘damn the torpedos!’.
Over the last couple of months I have had a number of other senior players both in the private and public sector express similar sentiments.
This situation really needs to change, and I really believe those who are concerned about the strategies and directions being taken by DoHA and NEHTA should be able to speak honestly and openly without any threat of financial or other penalty.
We will only get the best solutions for our national e-health aspirations if the climate of apprehension and fear are publicly denounced at Ministerial level as being counter-productive and dangerous and steps are taken to sure it goes away.
I can say from personal experience that some NEHTA staff have the most offensive and nasty modes of behaviour on occasion and occasionally behave in ways well beyond what is acceptable in civilised society.
Given the dependence of so many small private providers of e-Health on continued governmental beneficence maybe the MSIA might think of developing some form of ‘code of practice’ to try and make sure there is more balance in the Govt / Vendor relationship.
Reading between the lines I suspect at least this substantial vendor has similar views:
Government funding distorts developments in e-health
- Karen Dearne
- From: The Australian
- VENDOR John Frost, HCN
JOHN Frost says governments should butt out of e-health project funding.
"The biggest impediment to the e-health success is government funding, because it undermines the development of genuinely sustainable systems," he says.
"Project funding creates a feeding frenzy where industry is chasing that dollar instead of building their businesses on stuff that makes a difference.
"People lose sight of the fact that e-health is not about standards, or software, or election platforms -- it is about patients, their safety and wellbeing."
The market leader in software for doctors, HCN's success comes from reducing potential for mishaps and providing systems that give doctors more time with patients, Mr Frost says.
Instead of funding pilots, government should fund outcomes. "A successful pilot for 200 sites is Mickey Mouse stuff," he says.
"If we do the development work for the personally controlled e-health record program, we won't just be rolling it out to a few hundred sites, we'll roll it out in 6000 sites across the country. And that will make a difference."
There is serious work to be done by both sides around all this to make things work. We really can’t let the status quo persist in my view.