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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Future Of the PCEHR Program Is Now Really Up In The Air. Politics Will Now Play A Major Role In What Happens.

The following report appeared a couple of days ago.

E-Health start faces delay says Opposition Senator Sue Boyce

OPPOSITION Senator Sue Boyce says the Gillard government’s personally controlled e-health system will not start on July 1, as its enabling legislation has just vanished off the face of the earth”.
“The government has not put up its PCEHR Bills for debate in the Senate in this last sitting session before the Budget,” she said in a statement.
“The very earliest the Bill can be passed now is the week of May 8 to 10, just seven weeks before the PCEHR program is due to start.
“Coalition members have been warning the government for more than 12 months that their start-up date was too ambitious.
“Now it looks as though Health Minister Tanya Plibersek secretly agrees.”
On Monday, the Senate Community Affairs committee reported its inquiry into the PCEHR had uncovered a wide range of concerns and unresolved issues, but the Labor majority recommended passing the bills.
However, the Coalition members called for a one-year delay of the program’s commencement, in a dissenting minority report.
Senator Boyce said the PCEHR project was “just another example of Labor’s shambolic and systemic mismanagement”.
“The government makes a big deal of announcing a date and then scrambles ineptly to meet the deadline, irrespective of the quality of their programs,” she said.
“The Coalition has argued the July 1 deadline is foolish, and even dangerous.
“Expert evidence from clinicians, privacy organisations and the medical software industry is that neither the processes nor the systems have been adequately tested before being unleashed on the public.”
Senator Boyce said the inquiry had showed there were “a huge range of problems” still to be ironed out.
Lots more here:
In the same article there is also evidence the Health Minister is working to lower expectations.
“Earlier this week, Ms Plibersek confirmed that the government would commence its PCEHR rollout from July this year.
Over time, the system will join the dots electronically between GPs, pharmacists, specialists, allied health professionals, hospitals and patients,” she told a conference for GPs in Canberra.”
You can read the full press release from Senator Boyce here:
So where are we?
As I read it the Opposition is by no means convinced regarding the PCEHR Program and the Government is realising that the program will take years and years.
In this situation it has to be virtually certain that a change of Government - which on present polling seems likely in the next 18 months - would result in some very detailed and thorough review of what has been delivered and just what value for money has been realised. The outcome of that review is unlikely to be very positive in terms of either adoption or clinical benefits obtained I would suggest.
We also know the Paul Madden the DoHA CIO sees the PCEHR as an 8-10 year program. See here:
In that situation, and with the Opposition view being that things need, at the very least a 12 month pause, I would suggest scrutiny will be coming pretty soon and I also predict that with that scrutiny will come a recognition that there were some much better options that might have been pursued.
I note with interest even NEHTA, in its flashy brochure for consumers, is making it clear thing like e-diagnostics will not be done for a couple of years (at least).
See here:
This document is really 2 pages of content and 14 pages of NEHTA Paid Models smiling a lot! What a waste of paper and ink.
I really wonder just how long this charade can go on for before it becomes clear that we are heading for a really awful e-Health train-wreck and that sanity can only be regained by a major pause and review.
To just steam on towards the iceberg is plain idiotic.
Especially when the Senate Inquiry has provided a long list of  the issues to be addressed as well as the political cover for the Government to go ahead and actually pause and sort things out.


Anonymous said...

This will be good news if it is used to remove the sheer volume of un-managed contractors, the retirement of the Head of PCEHR, the portfolio manager and the people responsible for the shocking standards and foundation deliverables. Unless this is done the problem will just get worse no matter what the extension. This middle and upper management clearly do not understand how to build and deliver a program. A lot of talented people seem to fall victim in NEHTA whether it be NASH, HI or now the PCEHR.

Time for the right wrong people to be axed.

Anonymous said...

Campbell Newman, the new Premier of Queensland, is calling for 20 percent cuts across the board. No doubt he will be changing most Departmental heads in the process.

Withdrawing from further funding of NEHTA is an obvious cut. It will both save money and focus the bureaucrats who survive on streamlining the operations of the state's health system before embracing airy fairy schemes like NEHTA which deliver nothing but cost the earth.

At present there is no rhyme nor reason why any of the jurisdictions need to embrace NEHTA and continue funding it at this time. The focus should be on getting ehealth in primary care working first and that is a federal government responsibility.