Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late 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."

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Last Few Days Bring Some Interesting PCEHR Reporting. None of It All That Encouraging.

First we have this:

PCEHR technical details to be released

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • June 03, 2011 4:54PM

THE Health department will soon issue the technical design details for the $467 million personally controlled e-health records system, deputy secretary Rosemary Huxtable says.

A legal issues paper will also be released shortly for public consultation, she told a Senate estimates hearing this week.

"The legislative discussion paper will go into the regulatory elements, including issues raised in consultations on the PCEHR draft concept of operations," she said.

"There is another document that is very close to being finalised which provides yet another layer of detail in terms of the design elements.

"The reality is, yes, this is a complex body of work. It has a strong technical element to it."

Ms Huxtable said there was a tight timetable to create the capability for people to register for an e-health record by July 1 next year, and "to work through the way in which the PCEHR itself is constructed and establish what information will be available on it".

National E-Health Transition Authority chief executive Peter Fleming, in his first appearance before estimates, said that each of the project components "is tracking to its critical path".

"All activities that we expect to be delivered at certain times are being delivered within those time frames," he said.

In response to questions from Queensland Liberal Senator Sue Boyce, Mr Fleming said NEHTA was preparing a business case for Council of Australian Government funding beyond July 2012, when its funding ceases.

"That will be presented to our board within the next two months, but I cannot give you an answer beyond that," he said.

"Most of our staff understand that we have a job to do for the long term, but it is fair to say (this uncertainty) would be a consideration."

Mr Fleming said NEHTA was currently looking to hire another 20 staff, as it ramped up numbers for the PCEHR program.

In the financial year ending April, NEHTA has spent more than $39.7m on consultants, including $16m for Medicare for the healthcare identifiers (HI) service and $8m for IBM for its work on the National Authentication Service for Health.

"Our job is clearly to implement a series of agreed objectives," he said. "We use external parties wherever we believe they will add significant value, whether it be in terms of delivering on time, or quality."

Mr Fleming said Tasmania went live with its HI implementation to the acute care sector, and the HI system and the NEHTA "stack" would be implemented in the 12 e-health early adopter sites.

There is vastly more fun and games here with poor Senator Boyce becoming more confused and incredulous by the moment with the answers she was being given:


One has to wonder what soon and technical details actually means when the consultation period for how the PCEHR is actually work is yet to be completed and it is clear there are a range of stakeholders who are less than impressed with just where thing are at present.

It also needs to be noted that report on the Standards base for the PCEHR was given to government recently but it has yet to be released and given its size (300+ pages I am told) it can hardly have been fully digested. Moreover we don’t yet know who is to deliver whatever is to be delivered.

The whole thing is starting to develop a quiet surreal air around it as we watch a Titanic head for that iceberg!

Second we have this - which I have to say looks like a bit of a poison chalice

Ernst & Young bags $1m PCEHR contract

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • June 03, 2011 9:19AM

The government has committed to a July 1, 2012 launch of the PCEHR system. Illustration: Mark Wharton Source: The Courier-Mail

ERNST & Young has been secured by the Health department for the Gillard government's $467 million personally controlled e-health record program, winning a $990,000 contract to provide "external delivery assurance adviser" services over the next 14 months.

As the external assurance adviser, E&Y will have ongoing oversight of the project and provide independent advice on progress.

A department spokeswoman said the quality control component would include "three discrete, but not mutually exclusive, elements: design assurance; process assurance and benefits assurance".

The deal is the first of four key tenders for private-sector delivery partners, who will work with the National E-Health Transition Authority to build an Australia-wide system.

The other three contracts are expected to be announced shortly.

More here:


The key paragraph is this one:

“A department spokeswoman said the quality control component would include "three discrete, but not mutually exclusive, elements: design assurance; process assurance and benefits assurance".”

Right now everyone knows the present design is just hopeless, the planned surrounding business processes have anyone who might have to use them less than thrilled and it is utterly improbable we will see any benefits flow to anyone from the PCEHR.

My view is that this contract should recognise the reality and only ask for work to commence when the relevant aspects of the plans are at least close to final. Otherwise gobs of money will just get wasted with junior consultants just spinning their wheels!

Overall, as last week’s poll made pretty clear - once the submission period expires an overall review of this program makes both practical and indeed political sense (let this run on much longer and the politics may very well get ugly).

See the poll here:


We can only hope somehow we can draw back from this increasingly nonsensical proposal and stop the waste of public money on a basically flawed plan.


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