Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A New Year’s Eve Bon-Bon That Says It All – Pull At Your Peril!

Grahame Grieve has given us all a masterful one paragraph summary of where we are at, at the end of 2017, in response to a query about “What is going on?”!

To quote:

“I think it's pretty simple - the first round of development didn't quite meet the original goals, and the lack of consensus around the system - specifically, whether to consolidate or redesign - has prevented the government doing anything to address the actual concerns, so we end up in a situation where we have a half-done system that was baked in a hurry, but at the political level it's being treated as ready for prime-time. We're stuck.”

This is so true and so real it is just bloody painful. Just how the half-done system is going to handle the proposed transition to 'opt-out' must be a more than considerable worry to the bosses at the ADHA. I know I would be worried!

The question is what can we do in 2018 to ‘unstick’ ourselves?

Outside the box inspiration is urgently required! Comments please!

Happy New Year!



Trevor3130 said...

Drop ADHA and the rest like hot scones and start at the beginning.
Every newborn assigned a national unique identifier to which is bound its Guthrie blot.
As for the identifier, I suggest a 30-base (0-9 and 20 alphas) 16 char "numeric" that includes a hashed time-date number and geolocation point.

Anonymous said...

The ADHA need to be part of the conversation and I don’t think they should be excluded because of a few significant errors in John dgement and an inherited technical mess. There are good people at ADHA, yes they have a few growing problems but they do seem to be growing and I am sure there will be natural changes in the organisation so they can move forward.

Anonymous said...

They MyHR and all of ADoHA suffers for the condition “groupthink” fortunately this is curable but requires those infected to seek community help and face facts.

Anonymous said...

The ADHA corporate plan seems to be looking to address any concerns around staff safety, well being and opertunity

The Agency’s people are the primary enabler of organisational performance. Sta have a range of backgrounds and skills in healthcare, health informatics, management and information technology, and are experienced in many di erent contexts and disciplines. The diversity of backgrounds is a signi cant strength for the Agency.

Over the next four years, the Agency will continue to build an agile, engaged and empowered workforce with a sustained focus on:

• Recruiting talented staff, retaining them through career mentoring, and rewarding commitment and success;
• Being responsive and adaptive to changing demands, by establishing a learning culture and aligning individual performance plans to our strategic goals;
• Strong leadership that clearly conveys the Agency’s strategic vision; and
• Supporting sta to perform at their best, through corporate and procedural policies and practices that grant autonomy, encourage accountability and give leadership opportunities.

Developing a capable, exible and motivated workforce will give the Agency the necessary resilience to deliver major national programs and meet both the inherent and the unforeseen challenges that will be met in supporting the implementation of digital health-driven change across the health sector.

Seems like a great organisation to lead the nation forward to ke

Dr David G More MB PhD said...

Pity the ADHA spokesman can't type, spell or convey other than spin!


Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Typical project management speak where the project manger doesn't understand the goal of the project.

A good project manager would have the first and most important risk as "we are doing the wrong project".

I have yet to see a project risk register with that as a risk.

Anonymous said...

@ Dec 31. 8:01PM. If only that was the standard practice across the board. We have pockets of it but some struggle with the concepts and default to bitterness and lash out like wounded rats.

Anonymous said...

You have lost me Bernard, what project management speak do you refer to?

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

re "what project management speak do you refer to?"

1. See David's original blog post.

"the first round of development didn't quite meet the original goals, and the lack of consensus around the system - specifically, whether to consolidate or redesign"

There's no questioning of the original goals, only the project that tried to achieve the goals.

IMHO, it's the goal (let's build a government owned database of as much medical data as possible without any kind of curation or clinical perspectives) and hope that health care professionals can make some sort of sense of it, if they can - that's the real stumbling block.

2. The ADHA corporate plan has an enormous amount of content free initiatives in it. This means that a lot of executive time is spent on internal, goal free activities.

If you haven't heard of "quality certification" (i.e. ISO 9000 et al) and cement life jackets, google quality ISO 9000 concrete life jackets, or go straight to this:

ADHA is full of project managers with little or no experience in health care. Look up Paul Madden, he was project director on a relatively simple project implementing off the shelf packages delivering business reporting capabilities to Treasury. Then he became an expert in delivering Digital Health.

It's not Paul's fault, he should never have been appointed to the job in Health, a job where you would expect someone to have expertise in health care and/or Information System development, preferably both. But the public service has a track record of doing such things.

If anyone remembers the Human Service Access Card project, they appointed a Chief Technical Officer who had no technology qualifications at all. The person's biography said they had "a Bachelor of Arts degree focused on international politics, (and) has undertaken tertiary studies in law".

In my experience (25 years working in Canberra in and for many large and small government departments) the one constant is that, when it comes to Information Systems, policy makers and project managers just don't understand what it takes to get the best from technology - and they never learn from their mistakes, which are many.

Anonymous said...

I cannot locate te corporate plan with this illuminating 'extract' within. Can you please provide the link? Thanks

Dr David G More MB PhD said...

Try here:



Anonymous said...

31 December 2017 8:01

Wishful thinking, this now famous email sums up what actually goes on in the Agency. Get on the wrong list at your peril

Hi Tim,

You don’t know me but if you ever ask members of your “management”, I’ll apparently be the one who cost the agency some serious lost dollars with regard to the Brisbane office move.

I have since resigned (yesterday) due to what I can only say is something that your management is seriously lacking which caused the whole issue.
After 7 weeks with the agency and supposedly working under a team lead, I will say I am solely the one and only responsible for the numerous issues encountered. I know the $$ wasted but I also know how bad your management treat staff.

I am now resigning, finishing up on Tuesday because of the volatile and nasty environment this agency has turned in to not because I was at fault, ever.

I have spoken to people that have been in the same division under nehta for many, many years and love the role and still do.
I left where I worked to come to a govt agency for the same, thinking I could make a difference and better this concept of the digital health agency.

Mr. Kelsey, this is not an ultimatum. I have already resigned. My advice to you is that unless you want to lose more excellent workers and rather take some corrupt and selfish ones you have today then so be it. You have some ppl in ADHA that don’t see the end goal. This is a great idea and product. Office politics should not come into it, but they/we are the cogs that keep it going.

Kind regards,

Anonymous said...

I am keeping a screen shot of that. I do hope this person is okay. Not a great way to treat people and obviously there is something very wrong going on. My trust and respect in ADHA just slumped. What will they do to the broader community if this is how they treat their own.

Anonymous said...

David, if you take the time to scrutinise the 'source' document you will find you are sadly mistaken and should consider retracting you unsubstantiated criticism.

Dr David G More MB PhD said...


Not sure what you are on about but the stuff about the ADHA posted yesterday (@8:01) is unambiguous drivel IMVHO!


Anonymous said...

Going on @1:13PM I think they missed a principle.

Anonymous said...

The CEO is going to need to ask one or more executives to have a good think about this and if this is the sort of culture the ADHA actually wants. There seems to be a very real and concerning underbelly to that narrative. It certainly makes the CEO and executive team look like hypocrites, which was not my perception of them previously.

Anonymous said...

I am sure it was filed under the disgruntled employee folder and life will move on. I do wonder what this huge dollars is in relation to, I don’t recall the digital health infrastructure going offline for any period of time. It also seems an odd consequence of an Agency tallying up lots of wasted dollars.

Anonymous said...

Please do not cast judgement across the whole Agency, this shameful act is not a reflection of the part of the Agency I participate in, and grateful for it. This situation is terrible and embarrassing for many of us at the Agency. To succeed we need to be able to know that we work in a collaborative and authentic environment where we have each other’s best interests in mind. This sort of behaviour will fracture confidence and trust, not what we need as we advance towards a successful phase of the MyHR program.

Anonymous said...

"... as we advance towards a successful phase of the MyHR program."

You just don't get it. The myhr is fatally flawed and no amount of wishful thinking, head in the sand optimism will change the political reality that most Australian will either ignore it or react against it.

You all have been warned, don't come crying when the ADHA is suddenly abolished and Timmy loses his cushy but unsustainable job.

Anonymous said...

6:12 PM, glad to hear you believe it is limited. I hope you can all do something positive to prevent this spreading. The challenges ahead for you, coworkers and many of us is no simple task and we can do without fear and noisy distractions such as this shameful display.

Anonymous said...

Limited or not that is not a good look. The person obviously is quite distressed and feels victimised. Mental health and employee wellbeing should be paramount. Looks to me a failure in both fronts, and whatever has triggered this has obviously not been handled very tactfully. ADHA hold your head in shame.

Anonymous said...

Digital Health seems to have nothing to do with health. Pity 'bout that.

Anonymous said...

Yes that could be seen as a cold way to drive usage of the system. As with others views it does not reflect well in the ADHA.

Anonymous said...

Even for Government that is pretty rough treatment. On the bright side at least management survives to continue to bully and place staff at risk. Opt out is not looking good.

Anonymous said...

This might be an indication of social dominance orientation (SDO).

People with high SDO are more likely to have“a view of the world as a competitive, dog-eat-dog environment of winners and losers.” They’re attracted to institutions and professions that enhance and reinforce social hierarchies and will tend to discriminate against individuals from lower-status groups. As such, individuals high in SDO seek to reinforce inequality between groups in order to sustain their access to resources such as power, status, and wealth. Conversely, individuals with low SDO attach more importance to cooperation, egalitarianism, and humanitarianism.

It is often believed that poor performers are likely to be the victims of bully managers, this is not necessary the case and research shows that high performers may also experience bullying when they’re supervised by managers high in social dominance orientation. This is because high performers represent a threat to managers who place a high value on their dominant position in the hierarchy. To such a manager, an up-and-coming subordinate who performs beyond expectations might replace them, supersede them, or garner some of the resources normally reserved for them, such as status, attention from higher-ups, or advancement opportunities.

It is also not always limited to employees, often contracts and consultants can fall victim to managers high in social dominance disorder, often they quickly go from trusted advisor to being demonised especially as recognition higher up the status chain is forthcoming.

Since bully managers cause turnover, senior leaders should be especially disturbed by the knowledge that such supervisors might go after star performers. While no employee deserves to be bullied, driving out top talent by is an obvious threat to the future well-being of the organisation.

Social dominance disorder can easily to identified through screening for social dominance disorder. It may also be that senior leadership need to send clear signals about how to treat high performers will carry weight. For high SDO individuals, hierarchy and status are extremely important. In the same way that they are motivated to maintain their own status, they also respect those of higher status and are responsive to directives from such individuals. Thus, explicit messaging about the careful treatment of top performers from higher status managers may be key to removing the temptation for high SDO supervisors to bully their best employees.

There is also the option to look at the risk benefit of retaining managers with SDO, it suits some organisations and industries but the ADHA seems not to reflect a desire for such traits. Digital Health is a complex domain, it needs high performers working collaboratively, free from such distractions, regardless if they are at the coal face or working tirelessly in the background keeping the systems and services operating to support those at the coal face.

Only the CEO and Senior leadership can make the call and demonstrate in reality the culture they wish upon their employees and business partners.

The outcome will have a direct impact on the ADHA ability to work with the community and be seen as trustworthy.

Anonymous said...

From what has been said in the comments recently, those of us who think the pcehr/mhr is a total waste of time and money may only have to wait until ADHA self destructs as it tries to move to opt-out. They are between a rock and a hard place. They will need to draw attention to the opt-out but as soon as they do that, all the loonies will come out of the woodwork and create a media storm of protest. Governments have fallen for less.

Anonymous said...

@10:30 I disagree I believe it will be a real success, it will drive innovation, jobs and growth and fix the NBN, drawing directly from Snowy Mountain 2.0 it will contribute to lowering green house emissions, Donald Trump May even tweet about it.

10:08 AM, for all their posters, values and assorted dribble the ADHA is full off SDO, that is it true culture. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that once you leave you get a real appreciation for how other organisations operate.

Anonymous said...

@11:13 But if it doesn't fix Brexit and end world poverty, is it worth it?

Anonymous said...

@11:34, world peace and Britain - that would be double dipping, we have miss universe pageant and euro song context for those to problems

Anonymous said...

Looking back over your blogs David it is amazing the indicators that things needed sorting out. The post - January 01, 2018 1:13 PM surely must have raised alarm bells, any CEO of worth would have seen this as a symptom of an organisation in trouble. I guess hindsight is a wonderful thing or maybe it was sorted. Certainly does not paint a good picture

Anonymous said...

July 28 2018 8:16 PM. Nothing was done, in fact the cancer was allowed to grow. The little group is even more destructive than ever and the circle of friends even more entrenched in key positions. The monsters in question have neither delivered nothing in the way of an organisation that hums, quite the opposite. They are still fixated on culture and values rather than delivering an organisation that operates so we can do our job. They have and will continue to let the CEO down. Until that section of the business is completely overhauled things will only crumble further. Be informed Mr Kelsey.

Anonymous said...

Looks to me like ADHA has delivered according to its culture based leadership. Confusion, bribes, bulling and conflict of interest, topped with bad change management. An organisations market strategy often reflects and exposes its internal strengths and weaknesses.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I'm confused. It has "internal strengths"? Really? Gee, I'm surprised. Thanks for letting us know, we'll look out for them when things get even worse. Which they will.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps what was meant by exposing strengths, was exactly what you refer to, it has exposed that as an organisation is is lacking internal strengths. I am sure there are inderviduals or pockets of strength. What is apparent is the ADHA management has been unsuccessful in weaving those strengths into something that could deliver what was seen as a simple change management and communication exercise ( that was a bad assumption and another story). My best guess is they went straight into some cultural reprogramming exercise like Human Synergistics but failed to build structure and process tailored to that type of organisation. Human Synergistics like others such as sick stigma are out dated and rarely work without a larger transformation initiative orchestrating it. Most likely the ADHA has some motivation posters ever changing values and expenses and bemusing ‘leadership’ events but is mostly a source of amusem not to staff. Remember Dilbert is based on one of these methods.

Anonymous said...


You asked if the ADHA is applying Human Synergistic culture reprogramming thing - Yes we are subjected to that and for as long as I have been employees there, I understand it goes back 2 years

You ask about structure and process to make lives easy and collaboration possible - no that has been a complete mess, after two years finance and HR seem to be improving but the lady overseeing organisation change and capability and her side kicks have been a source of wonderment - as in wonder how incompetent people get away with it, and how she keeps appointing friends.

You asked - motivational posters and values and if it is a source of staff amusement, yes, yes and sadly yes, amusement for the latter is due to anything else you get bullied out of the place.

If the MyHR and ADHA fails then personally I place a fair chuck of the blame on a small group of incompetent people
Who should have ever been allowed to gain such control or inflict so much discomfort on staff. The wise and good leaders are or have left, says a lot.

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

MyHR will fail because of an assumption made years ago which cannot be unmade - to create a government owned database of some of people's health data. The problem is the "government owned" bit. A centralised system (non government owned) might work, given an acceptance by the public, it's not a technology issue.

If the minister can convince people that no future government will ever change the legislation governing myhr such that privacy is in anyway threatened and that data might be sold, then he might get away with it. Unfortunately he can't, because no government can ever write legislation that cannot be changed by a future government.

The minister is going to have an uphill battle in the next few weeks. If only ADHA hadn't been so naive and stupid to think they could get away with opt-out. It's almost as though they didn't remember the history of such initiatives. Oh, of course, some of them didn't even know about such a history.

Ironic really.

And it's nothing to do with the culture of ADHA or their crazy, pseudo-psychology schemes that are no substitute for good old fashioned competence and respect for the individual.

Anonymous said...

You are as always Bernard, astute. If is strange that the Government would want to look after people’s data of this nature, they do not do this anywhere else as far as I am aware. As for the ADHA pseudo-psychology schemes, although I do not disagree, I think this is an insight into the leaderships mentality. To Predefine and force a culture is not something I see ever works. You can cultivate positives that may take a group towards a preferred state, however culture is an emergent property IMHO, achieved through small actions and leadership. The fact they seem to be forcing, or engineering some sort of nirvana internally is reflective of the massive mistake they have made externally.
This is a sideshow and we should not waste a good crisis. Hopefully someone in government is wise enough to make a new positive move that can lead Australian out of this technology dinosaur mess. But then the NBN is taking Australia down the same redundant path.