This blog is totally independent, unpaid and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Friday, April 24, 2015
It Is Very Important To Understand That All Consultant Advice Has An Intrinsic Conflict Of Interest!
A public service department has admitted there are now 17 drafts of a report in existence, but refuses to make any of them public.
A Commonwealth department has produced 17 versions of a consultant's report, amid accusations the document was re-drafted until it told departmental bosses what they wanted to hear.
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development hired the private contractors in May 2014 for a report on aged care on Christmas and Cocos Island after years of complaints from islanders and the territory's administrator about the lack of services.
But nearly a year after hiring Australian Healthcare Associates, for what seemed a straightforward job, the department has admitted there are now 17 drafts of the report in existence but refuses to make any of them public.
The department refused to answer a series of questions on Tuesday but denied it demanded the report be shorn of bad news, saying the re-writes were to ensure the consultants complied with their brief.
Christmas Island Shire President Gordon Thomson and former administrator of the Indian Ocean Territories Jon Stanhope both say they believe the the DIRD bosses in Canberra have been sending the reports back to Australian Health Associates until its finding are in keeping with what the department wants.
Mr Thomson says the "questionable practice" has been going on for years.
Christmas Island Shire says it is facing an aged care crisis with up to 110 of its ageing residents likely to need full-time care in the coming years, but with only a very basic version of home help available to elderly islanders.
First this sort of experience is not at all unusual and I have to say my experience has been that Governments are by far the worst offenders - have seen multiple examples personally.
Second the quality of consultants can be assessed by the ways they handle the sorts of pressures clients apply to tell the client what they need to hear!
It can be a very sensible approach when engaging consultants to establish up front just how the consultants will handle the situation where some of their advice is not welcome or agreed!
Third it is important to realise that consultants are in business which means they will try to please the client to get paid and get re-engaged so it is inevitable there be times when there are temptations to shape the advice to suit the client and not the truth. Fear of not getting paid or re-engaged can be a powerful conflicted driver of advice which lacks directness and integrity.
If you keep this perspective in mind you will be a much better and successful client!
Do have a thoughtful and reflective ANZAC day tomorrow.