Monday, February 13, 2012

A Quiet Insider Spills The Beans On What Goes On Within Government. Very Interesting And Very Sad Indeed!

I had a contact from an insider in Government today - no names and no packdrill!
Here is what I was told.
“Many in the public sector are quite aware of the mess DoHA/NEHTA are in but are powerless to do anything meaningful about it. Public Sector accountability rules do not let Finance/AGIMO do much else than insist on agencies following the government's procurement rules. AGIMO is not empowered to ask if what an agency is doing will work. The Gateway review process is not much help - it's too much self-assessment.
ANAO tend to follow along after the event and do post implementation reviews. They don't often get involved in "in-flight" projects. They also don't have the technical ability to make value judgements.
The Senate hearings are mostly about politics and the reports will be on party lines. It's always been like this and probably always will be.
I'm afraid neither AGIMO nor ANAO can do much to stop the train wreck from happening. Health and NEHTA will probably redefine success so that the train wreck will appear to the average voter as a minor derailment, causing a slight delay typical of all major IT projects.
BTW, I came across this advert today.
It looks suspiciously like a NEHTA advert. If it is, it makes you wonder what they are up to so late in the project.
----- Quote:
As part of the Architecture team, you will work closely with the assigned Technology Partner who will be building this national E-Commerce platform to ensure the build is validated to the design specifications.
With your SOA background, you will create the Standards and Specifications for the artefacts.
Working with other 3rd party portal technology to ensure transactional and document management is within the Health standards.
----- End Quote.
And to follow up, I (David) asked!
 > What if Tanya (Plibersek) asked Penny (Wong) to help save her bacon?
I doubt that anyone external to Health could save Tanya's bacon. Penny certainly doesn't have much power in this area. The government has approved the expenditure, so it's up to Health to manage it. That's Tanya's and Jane Halton's job.
If we compare this project with some other notable failures - the Australian Customs Service's Cargo Management Re-engineering (CMR) and the Access Card there are some interesting parallels. This is an informative article:
Minister Ellison got burned at Customs because the system was hurried and the legislation that it was based upon was not passed by the parliament early enough. When Ellison took over the Access Card he refused to authorise serious development expenditure until the enabling legislation was passed. - The Access Card project did not actually cost a lot of money. Of the $1.1billion estimated cost only about $100million (only?) was wasted. Eventually a change of government killed the thing, but Ellison greatly reduced the risk.
What Tanya could do, politically, is change the project timetable - delay as much as possible until the legislation was passed. That's effectively what Ellison did - he didn't want to get burned again. Tanya is going to get burned unless she does. As I said, this is all about politics, common sense does not come into it. She really needs someone external to blame (the Libs, AMA, anyone...) - or a change of government, but that's not in her best interest.
End Messages.
This is a very sad communication suggesting the money will just get spent - and probably wasted - and none of us can do zilch about it!
What a humongous mess we find ourselves in! All I can say is read, learn and weep!


Anonymous said...

"This is a very sad communication suggesting the money will just get spent - and probably wasted - and none of us can do zilch about it!"

I believe this has been a very consistent theme and view expressed and shared by your readership and online post contributions, so no surprises here!

As for nothing anyone can do about it, may I suggest voting in or standing as your local representative at the next electoral opportunity that "promises" to do something about this government eHealth largesse and bureaucratic empire building, unlike the performances of the senators at the recent inquiry.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed a disgrace that the Government has damaged the local eHealth industry with taxpayer funds.

Nine out of every 10 taxpayer dollars that Labor spends normally goes to Administration / Management of the program. Effectively lining the pockets of their cronies and insiders with no accountability and ultimately no outcomes.

The failure of NEHTA and DOHA to engage Industry, and the private healthcare sector and even the GPs (AMA etc) is largely to blame for this train wreck.

Starting with the destruction of the Secure Messaging market, and then followed with the unethical funding of Wave 1 Grants to "mates" and former NEHTA employees such as Health Industry Exchange LTD who have developed parasitic software in order to infringe the rights of incumbent GP software vendors such as HCN.

The Wave 2 process has compounded this with nearly 90 funding applications for projects being rejected and the respective bridges being burnt and eHealth initiatives being killed.

Finally to see NEHTA disintegrate and the PCEHR project come off the rails leaves a very sour taste in the mouth.

It will take a long time for the Australian eHealth industry to recover from this disaster.

Anonymous said...

I find watching Yes Minister is the best way to understand the process. In fact its the only way to understand whats happened. Its been done by both political parties, but only labor could compound the stuff up with more and more Taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

You may all think think that; I couldn't possibly comment.

Anonymous said...

“but only labor could compound the stuff up with more and more Taxpayer money.” Meanwhile, from out of the blue without any reference to NEHTA we read -

Appeal to stop drug shopping by: Carl Dickens, Herald Sun February 16, 2012