Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Let’s Play Spot The E-Health Spin From The Federal Health Minister. What Fun.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek appeared on Meet the Press on the Weekend.
Here is the link to the show.
Here is an approximate transcript of what was said (E&OE).
8.49 minutes into the discussion:
 Sue Dunlevy: Have you spent a billion dollars on an ehealth system – doctors cant upload any patient records without crashing their computers in their surgeries?
Minister Plibersek : That's not right Sue.
Sue Dunlevy:  Is this not a white elephant, when will we be able to use this – I mean it was launched 9 months ago and it is still not working?
Minister Plibersek : There are 8 million records on the e-health system right now, there are 100,000 people signed up, there are about 7,000 organisations signed up, we have already got a number of hospitals doing electronic discharge summaries, we have doctors in many surgeries, in the test areas, using this very effectively but it is a huge system – this is something that will one day serve 23 million Australians. It is a big job. I have got my own  e-health record and I was able to see for the last two years everything I have been to the doctor for, every medicine I have had, I have been able to check my children’s immunisations status on line. It is a very useful thing.
Sue Dunlevy: Was that in a test situation or a clinical situation?
Minister Plibersek:  No it is mine, I sat down at my computer and typed up and I logged on and created my own record – it took me about 10 minutes
Sue Dunlevy: Has your doctor been able to update your medical records?
Minister Plibersek: I haven’t been to the doctor since then because  I am quite healthy thank you very much. But if I went to hospital and I wanted an electronic discharge summary – my own doctor could then read my own discharge summary. This is the very beginning of a massive change in health in Australia. In years to come it will make a huge difference. It will reduce prescription errors – we have thousands of people every year who are made sicker when they go to the doctor because they get the wrong medicine or too much medicine. It will mean if you have an accident and taken into hospital all the hospital staff will be able to see whether you have had any surgery in recent years, whether you are on any medications, whether you have any allergies. It will mean that if you have an x-ray or a blood test in Sydney and you get sick in Brisbane then they can have a look at your blood test or that x-ray that you had six months ago. Or six years ago. Huge savings to health and huge improvements’
----- End Transcript.
The figure that amazed me was the 8 million records in the system. That sounds pretty high to me!
While obviously well briefed I am not sure the Minister was really telling a story that reflects the actual reality of what has been achieved.
Oh well - I suppose that is pre-election politics!


Paul Fitzgerald said...

I want some of the Minister's Koolaid! Obviously someone has fed her porkies if she really believes that information!

Anonymous said...

Obviously here the Minister is demonstrating she is part of the PROBLEM and not driving the solution!

How can DOHA and NEHTA be truly held accountable when she holds and communicates such a rosy state of affairs?

The fish is certainly stinking and rotting from the head when this is the measure and level of misinformation detached from the reality of the poor state of the nation's eHealth affairs.

Whether the opposition can exploit this and bring about a healthier state of eHealth affairs, time will tell.

Anonymous said...

It is all a joke, a billion dollars worth of rubbish, a minister and advisers who have no understanding of the real world, incentives and handouts (just like pink batts) to get health professionals on board and then to add insult to injury people accosting people in hospital wards, shopping centres and flea markets.

Get rid of the lot....now!!!, start again and involve people that have an appreciation of the real issues, not political or self indulgent ones...

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

And as if to reinforce what may happen when a development/implementation project goes wrong, here is a report on recent research:

Why a Botched IT Project Will Destroy a Major Corporation in the Near Future

The risks associated with major IT projects are being vastly underestimated, according to the largest study of global IT projects ever undertaken.


As I've said before, technology is a very powerful tool, one that is getting more and more powerful. This means you need to be very careful what you do with it or it will come back to bite you. I see many aspects of eHealth, both here and in the rest of the world, where an appropriate level of care is sadly lacking.

Terry Hannan said...

In the "EMR Olympics" the Aussies have done it again if Plibersick is right.
Here is what the "donkey" Regenstrief Medical Record System achieved from 1976.
Regenstrief Institute: April 2012: 18 hospitals

>32 million physician orders entered by CPOE
Data base of 6 million patients
900 million on-line coded results
20 million reports-diagnostic studies, procedure results, operative notes and discharge summaries
65 million radiology images
They used to be the leaders but now we have the Aussie Usain Bolt PCEHR!!!

Anonymous said...

“There are 8 million records on the e-health system right now, there are 100,000 people signed up..”
Press here for translation from Spin to English:
“There are approx 100,000 records, with about 8 million pieces of information altogether across all of these records. On average that is about 80 bits of information for each person’s record. Most of these 80 bits of information are gathered from the existing information already in the MBS, PBS, Immunisation and donor registries , and replicated into each person’s record. (Handy to have it altogether in one place though). Over time, we will start to get some really useful information into the system, such as discharge summaries and medication information.”
Please don’t speak in Spin – it makes a mockery of the system.