Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Now Here Is A Call I Would Really Like To See Actioned After The Election No Matter Who Wins.
This appeared a little while ago.
Aug 27 2013
The Consumers e-Health Alliance is calling on the major parties to revisit the $1 billion national electronic medical information-sharing system and actually deliver the promised benefits.
CeHA convenor Peter Brown says the launch of the $1 billion Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) “needs to be seen positively for the opportunities it presents.”
But with emerging difficulties identified by medicos, consumers, the local health IT industry and the full range of State and Federal government agencies charged with implementation, CeHA believes it is now important to bring all parties together to tackle the issues.
There is no way an effective e-health system can be established without standardised infrastructure providing quality interchange and secure storage capabilities for people’s confidential medical information.
We need to build on the basic PCEHR infrastructure by incorporating the many practical systems operating across the currently siloed health sector, but this has to be done in a co-ordinated, connected way. Such an approach is increasingly being undertaken elsewhere around the globe.
The original National e-Health Strategy, agreed by all Commonwealth, State and Territory Health Ministers in December 2008, addressed the need for a national governing body with an independent chair and broad stakeholder representation to set priorities, direction and funding.
Crucially, the National e-Health Governing Board would be publicly accountable for ensuring the desired outcomes, with the support of a new National e-Health Entity tasked with managing the work program, overseeing standards development, a privacy and security framework, and systems compliance. it will also co-ordinate the implementation.
It is unfortunate that these governance arrangements were not established from the outset. Obviously the co-ordination and management of such an inherently complex system would be a critical factor in its successful implementation and ongoing operation. That would achieve good quality co-ordination and collaboration of all stakeholders. This accords with the recommendations of the Health Ministers Conference, December 2008.
Instead, responsibility for operating the network has been handed to the federal Department of Health and Ageing.
Clearly, this was not initially envisaged, and the Department is not designed for such a task and has no prior experience in an operation of this size and type. Department secretary Jane Halton correctly pointed out recently that the national e-Health program was larger than the Snowy Mountains scheme. This is true, but the responsibility for that construction job was not given to a Government department.
The PCEHR system is far, far bigger than can be managed in that way. Healthcare not only involves millions of individual citizens and their personal medical records, but many thousands of organisations – public, private, sole practitioners, and some 800,000 employees.
It involves a new communications paradigm on a grand scale that will be strange to nearly every participating consumer and clinician alike; based on an appropriate electronic networking infrastructure.
It needs to be accepted that such an e-health network can only be made workable by having the four key stakeholder groups – clinicians, consumers, the medical software industry and government agencies – present at the same table at all stages of its development and implementation. The operation needs to be melded into a suitable type of network. This complex situation cannot be validly compared with the banks, since a health service is quite different.
CeHA believes consumer organisations can play an important role in articulating and clarifying privacy and confidentiality concerns, advocating for higher quality patient outcomes and more efficient use of scarce health resources through new technologies, and the use of patient data for medical research endeavours. And importantly, greater engagement with the patients themselves.
Good governance can help to de-politicise one’s electronic health record, by focusing on long-term infrastructure that can evolve to meet the needs and aspirations of clinicians and consumers.
Lots more here:
All I can say is that I agree - and that I have been saying the same for the last few years. The unaccountability of DoHA and NEHTA in the e-Health domain is just a travesty.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Tuesday, September 03, 2013