- February 27, 2015
- Sue Dunlevy National Health Reporter
- Herald Sun
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
Surely, After This Much Has Been Spent, And All We Have Is This Set Of Numbers, The Time Has Come To Pull The Pin!
This appeared late last week.
AUSTRALIANS could have had a hip replacement, a knee replacement or a brain tumour removed for the money it has cost to create the shared health summaries on their e-health records.
The botched Personally Controlled e-Health Record has been operating for nearly three years but less than one in ten Australians (2.1 million people) currently has one.
And doctors have uploaded just 41,998 shared health summaries onto these records, which means most of the more than 2 million e-health records are empty.
The scheme has so far cost taxpayers more than $1 billion to develop, or almost $24,000 per shared health summary.
Launched by the previous Labor Government in July 2012, the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record was meant to bring medical records into the digital age and contain an electronic patient health summary, a list of allergies and medications and eventually X-rays and test results.
The Abbott Government commissioned a review of the system just after winning office, but has failed to respond to its recommendations for more than 14 months.
The review called for the system to switch from an opt in to an opt out model to speed up the toll out.
If the $1 billion spent so far is to be salvaged and the scheme fully rolled out the government needs to provide direction and funding by June 30.
Health Minster Sussan Ley said she had been listening to doctors about their experiences with Labor’s e-health system as part of her national Medicare consultations and “the prognosis isn’t good for the previous government”.
“Unfortunately Labor’s rush for glory has ended up with a false start costing taxpayers and doctors in the long run due to poor implementation and take up,” Ms Ley said.
“Labor has left a complex, expensive mess behind and this is not an easy overnight fix, but we’re continuing to put the time and effort into getting the right outcome for all involved.”
Following the release of the review report, which found significant flaws in the system, the Government has been consulting widely with key stakeholders including consumers, healthcare providers, software vendors, professional associations and peak bodies.
Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said the government’s review found e-health could save the health system $7 billion a year through fewer diagnoses, treatment and prescription errors, and in the process avoid thousands of unnecessary hospital admissions.
“This was clearly not the outcome the government was looking for, given its failure to act on the report for 14 months,” she said.
The committee was told only 7,645 of the 57,000 health provider organisations have so far registered to use the e-health record.
And just 274 of the 1,338 public and private hospitals around the country are connected to the e-health system.
A review of e-health by IT expert Karen Dearne notes there are an average 36 million GP consultations per day, but the PCEHR System Operator Annual Report found only a paltry 72 attempts by doctors to access e-health records each day.
The rollout of e-health records was growing strongly until late 2013 when the number of new records taken out each month began to slow considerably.
Lots more here:
There is very little to add as far as I am concerned - and surely before we waste any more money on a clear cut failure - we need to cancel the whole thing. As the Americans say - ‘this dog simply will not hunt’ and a dog it surely is!
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Tuesday, March 03, 2015