Tuesday, January 07, 2014

NSW Moves To Update Its E-Health Plan. How Is It Looking For The Future?

The following popped up just before we all entered the Christmas Coma.


A Blueprint for eHealth in NSW

A Blueprint for eHealth in NSW sets out the NSW Government’s principles and directions for using information and communication technology (ICT) to drive improvements in health and medical care in NSW over the next five years.
The Minister for Health released the Blueprint on 18 December 2013.

eHealth NSW

The Blueprint officially formalises the establishment of eHealth NSW. The core responsibility for eHealth NSW will be to provide high level governance for NSW Health’s information strategy, forward planning and delivery. A Chief Executive will be appointed to lead eHealth NSW by April 2014.
The NSW Government is investing $1.5 billion in eHealth NSW over the next ten years, including almost $400 million for ICT programs such as electronic medications management and community health and outpatients care.

Using eHealth to improve patient care

  • Patient information will be available to clinicians across the state, which means clinicians in metropolitan areas can also support services in regional and rural centres.
  • Clinicians and other LHD staff will be engaged to implement statewide systems at the local level.
  • eHealth NSW will set performance standards to ensure systems meet the needs of clinicians and patients.
eHealth NSW encompasses a number of innovative programs already underway across the state that support new models of care. These include telehealth, electronic medications management, statewide access to digital imaging and the use of voice recognition software as part of the second phase of the electronic medical records program.
The page is found here:
Here is the direct link to the blueprint.
At the highest level this seems to be a useful document. The ideas of having a focussed organisation, a clear e-Health leader and a senior clinician in place as a CCIO are all good and sensible - if not overdue.
The broad direction is also sensible and I do like the balance of central vs local control that is implied.
The key issue is that this is really just a plan to do at real plan.
Page 14 (top left) makes this clear.
“Refreshing our eHealth vision
While the NSW eHealth Strategic Plan 2006-2011 has served us well, it is time to set new strategic directions. A new five-year eHealth Strategic Plan will be developed to guide our future investment. Our new plan will:
·         articulate the benefits of eHealth to patients, clinicians and the community
·         consolidate the expansion of existing state-wide eHealth applications
·         demonstrate the transparency of the eHealth infrastructure to ensure reliability and security of patient information
·         support new eHealth solutions – including mobile and innovative “disruptive” technologies, and locally driven solutions – to meet changing needs and deliver new models of care, including outside the hospital setting
·         build eHealth capacity across the whole NSW Health network, as well as developing key partnerships and collaborations that will enable and support connectivity across providers and treatment settings 
·         measure and report the benefits of our investment in eHealth.
I note the plan is going to be a year or two after the end of the old plan in 2011 and it seems to me in all this the devil will be in the detail.
I look forward to the real plan - but this is a worthwhile first step with some good initial actions.
I note a reticence to lock in too hard to the NeHR until what happens later this year becomes clear.
Time will tell how it all works out.

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