Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Why Has This Just Not Been Done After Six Years of Trying? It Is Just A Joke!

The following report appeared in the Australian very recently.

Victoria builds database of health products

HEALTH Purchasing Victoria will spend $2.1 million building its own database of health products and suppliers, as state governments struggle to implement the National Product Catalogue intended as a single source of data.
The NPC has been a key priority for the National e-Health Transition Authority since 2006, as all the jurisdictions recognise the costs associated with hospitals using different catalogues and non-standardised data.
NeHTA says the NPC now contains more than 210,000 items from 360 suppliers, and all of the states have been accessing data; the aim is to create a single source of product master data for medicines, medical devices and other healthcare requirements.
Victoria's auditor-general, Des Pearson, last week found the state's central health procurement agency was at least two years' away from completing its database of suppliers and purchasing data, the Victorian Product Catalogue.
"HPV struggles to get consistent and comparable data from hospitals to help identify future opportunities and plan for tenders on its annual program," Mr Pearson said.
"This problem largely stems from lack of a common product catalogue across the sector.
"Hospitals maintain separate catalogues and identify the same products in different ways, making it very difficult for HPV to get reliable data on how much is being spent in each product category.
"The lack of comparable data and standard names and products were identified as issues in 2005."
The report says HPV has been developing a VPC since 2009, in line with the state's commitment to the NPC being established by NeHTA, but had not been adequately funded for the task.
This year, it was given "in principle" approval for funding by the Health department.
"The VPC will synchronise data between the NPC and the various systems for managing catalogues, setting common, accurate product and pricing data, reducing management effort in health services and enabling broader supply chain reform," the HPV says.
"Full implementation of the VPC across the health services could occur by December 2013 and deliver savings of around $2.9 million per year."
Initial software development is estimated to cost $600,000 in year one, rising to $950,000 a year, from year three onwards; software licensing costs are an estimated $100,000 annually.
More here (on NSW being similarly slow!)
One really can only one question on all this. Why, when there is actual demonstrable money to be saved, can’t NEHTA and the various State Jurisdictions just get this work done and operational. I have been hearing about this being needed since the late 1980’s. I wonder who is paying whom to prevent this happening and the savings being realised. It can hardly be incompetence that extends over a 30 year period - it has to be something else - plain old corruption maybe?
It must be that the suppliers clearly do not want it to happen, for their own profit motives, and that somehow they have caused it not to happen and pricing arbitrage remains alive and well for their benefit!


Anonymous said...

Like everything else with NEHTA and the jurisdictions - many enthusiastic cooks stirring the same broth combined with a vast array of vested competing interests, numerous committees, political rivalries and lots of big ego dreamers guarantee the outcome we see today.

Anonymous said...

It is a public service disease. Unfortunately the taxpayers pick up the bill each year for a refreshed budget only to see the same cycle of waste occur. It doesn't matter if it is Labor or Liberal, the empire building and wastage has become embedded in the public service along with a total lack of accountability and transparency. NEHTA is one of the worst examples because it has the Quango structure. Probably the only way to eradicate the disease is to fire them all and make them reapply for their positions. A bit of pain in the short term but a long term gain.

But politically that will never happen.

Anonymous said...

I am not persuaded there has been any progress of note since 2005, 7 years ago, when this was identified as a problem to be solved. Indeed in 2006 NPV was seen as a key priority for NEHTA!!!

Now we learn, in 2011 HPV, Victoria’s central health procurement agency, is starting to build its own database of suppliers and purchasing data to create a Victorian Product Catalogue!!! Hallelujah, and all for the very modest sum of $2.1 million. Oh yeah tell me another.

Oh, goodness me what’s this we see “Victoria’s hospitals keep their own product catalogues and HPV is unable to get reliable data and spending information from the hospitals”.

Oh, how terribly sad – dear old HPV can’t get data from the hospitals, they all want to control the data themselves. Big brother, get nicked.

Aaah – not to worry NEHTA is here, everyone clap and give loud cheer.

If ‘they’ NEHTA and the jurisdictions can’t get a basic catalogue of drugs and products up and running which is reliable and which everyone will use how the hell do they think they can develop a PCEHR? Hellloooooooo oo oooo

Anonymous said...

David, in the Pulse+IT magazine Issue 23, July 2011, page 23 NEHTA published its story on the "New Supply catalogue system for health services an Australian first".

I think you and some of your commentators might have it all wrong. To my mind it seems that NEHTA:

(i)has developed the MCIS (Master Catalogue Information Service)and the National Product Catalogue (NPC)

(ii) in collaboration with Bizcaps, an ACT health solution provider, is implementing the MCIS in ACT Health where the NPC is hosted on GS2 Australia's GS1net platform

Surely HPV is heading in the same direction by interfacing its locally developed system into the NPC.

Isn't this the objective - one, uniform, standardised, current and up-to-date, NPC available for every state and every health agency to access obviating the necessity for each state to maintain a separate catalogue with the consequent duplication of effort?

What is wrong with that?

Dr David More MB PhD FACHI said...

My comment was on the extreme slowness of having things happen.I still think it has been absurdly slow for a priority activity.

Remember it still is not done and won't be for another couple of years!