More news on e-health waste

I have been vaguely following this story for a while and have blogged before on the topic.   I would write a column on the topic but there is no transparency on the topic so it is difficult to get enough material to discuss.

Apart from uninterest on the part of all of us – there just does seem to be much reason to sign up and all efforts to encourage this have been pathetic – I understand that most doctors cannot access e-health records because there are problems with the software.  You might have thought the department would have sorted this before rolling out the program.

But the waste, the dollars – so depressing.  But next we will have some member of the Labor government extolling the virtues of the NBN to enhance the e-health experience.  AHAHAH

For a bit of a laugh, I asked my GP whether we could conduct Sykpe consultations and he could email any prescriptions/path orders. I have a blood pressure machine and I told him I could take my own blood pressure.  Strangely, he did not seem at all interested.

THE government has been rocked by the mass resignation of doctors advising it on its troubled $1 billion e- health system.

The system barely functions a year after it was launched and this week former AMA president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal and Dr Nathan Pinksier and two other advisers quit in frustration.

Although 690,000 Australians have signed up for an e-health record the Department of Health has admitted only 5427 patient records have been provided by doctors…

Patients claim their e-health records show them using medicines for conditions they don’t even have.

 

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28 Responses to More news on e-health waste

  1. blogstrop says:

    What a surprise! Another glittering policy turns to wasteful glitch-fest.

  2. Tony says:

    I visited CentreLink last week (unfortunately) and was approached in the waiting room by a young man who tried to talk me into signing up. He was completely unable to answer questions about security of my records or anything else really. He had a script and if you went off it he got confused. He gave me a leaflet which actually says nothing. I shall ask my Doctor what she thinks the next time I visit.

  3. James of the Glens says:

    A pre-cursor to this has been the centralised “planning” in SA of Country Health. One country hospital previously had a ratio of 14:1 medical staff to admin. Today, the ration is exactly, yes exactly, the reverse.

    The waste of money is beyond belief. Add in a dose of e-health and shares in funeral services will skyrocket.

  4. Amortiser says:

    My wife, who is a GP, calls it the “great health record in the sky”, and she is terrified about its implications. The government is leaning on GP practices to take it up otherwise PIP payments will be withheld.

    There are however massive problems particularly legal implications with this proposition. The idea is the health records will be available on a data base for all practitioners if they require it. All sounds very desirable. The problem is security. Any system on a network is open to hacking or unauthorised access and health records hold some of the most personal information anywhere.

    Doctors put all sorts of information in health records. Patients who have mental problems may divulge very personal reasons for the condition developing. With a system such as this there will be a reluctance to record in appropriate detail the history of such illnesses.

    Patients will also have the right to access the record and approve what goes into it. How is this going to help other doctors if significant information is withheld from the record? It is no wonder that this program has turned into a crock. Whatever they touch turns to crap. The doctors both inside and outside this system think this is a crock but this mob keep throwing our money at it.

  5. Rabz says:

    Another one for the “Trust us, what could possibly go wrong?” files.

  6. EJ says:

    I would rather pay the $20.00 to my ex-doctor to transfer my documented, hard-copy PRIVATE files to my new practitioner. I do not trust the idea of my information going by nexus in an unsecured system!

  7. stackja says:

    Another one for the “Trust us, what could possibly go wrong?” files.

    Endless!

  8. EJ says:

    TO Judith …also I posted this question yesterday on your other post…I hope I can get an answer from you if you know anything about it, or if there is any truth to the rumour…

    “EJ
    #960906, posted on August 15, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Hi Judith…can you clarify what will happen to the Education Maintenance Allowance ( EMA) & or the School kids bonus when Gonski is implemented. I was at a school council meeting recently discussing fees that are outstanding by families and was properly told the EMA- WILL BE SCRAPPED as well! Being a Government School the council cannot chase or send collectors for the outstanding fees and have no other options. The budget cannot support default accounts and families rely on the EMA….what impact will Gonski actually have on the struggling families? What will Government do to ensure they compensate the school for those who don’t pay their fees? This is frightening news and I sure hope its not true!”

  9. Laterite says:

    All of the Gubmint IT is crap. The ATO single sign in service is awful. The Superannuation clearing house does not work.

  10. Bushdoc says:

    On behalf of every GP I know, I have yet to met anyone who is willing to sign up to this ridiculous white elephant.
    We have discussed this at length, apart from the fact that the bureaucrats think it is a panacea for all ills (that should be enough to to make you suspicious of their motives). The process is fundamentally flawed, the program is not compatible with all medical software. There are protocols in place which will make the system unworkable. Examples include, patients can decide which doctors/health practiitioners can look at their data. Patients can decide what data goes into the file, i.e can choose to prevent doctors knowing they have a history of substance abuse, mental health or any condition or treatment they choose to have withheld. Patients can in theory go into a file and delete or alter entries by health practitioners. This could be a lawyers picnic.
    What is truly amazing is that the pencil-heads in Canberra, can’t understand why doctors aren’t thrilled to be a part of this brilliant new innovation.

  11. brc says:

    We should change the constitution to prevent any government dept from starting any it project. If they can’t buy the system off the shelf, then they should be forced to change practice to match one that does come off the shelf. We are over the hump where computer systems provide easy productivity gains. Now, governments design them to Hoover up as much data as possible, which makes them complicated, difficult to use and completely at odds with what should be the design goal of increasing efficiency and lowering costs.

  12. brc says:

    Don’t leave out Qld health payroll debacle from any discussion. That problem is still not fixed.

  13. H B Bear says:

    Where is Nurse Roxon?

    Oh, off enjoying her Parliamentary superannuation. Bunch of thieves.

  14. 1735099 says:

    Strangely, he did not seem at all interested.
    Time to find a new GP, Judith. Mine has been doing this for about 12 months.

  15. Gab says:

    $1 billion e- health system.
    690,000 Australians signed up
    5427 patient records provided

    More Labor waste, more Labor socialist “vision” fantasy, more Labor incompetence.

  16. Token says:

    The problem is security. Any system on a network is open to hacking or unauthorised access and health records hold some of the most personal information anywhere.

    This is the cause of so many projects blowing out, and with health the consequences of getting this wrong can be astounding. Your story matches the one GPs and others I know tell.

    The health funds work hard with the many companies they pay to improve the knowledge flow and transctions and keep being bogged down.

    What do you think it would be like when payment for an invoice is not the primary motive for ensuring the roadblock is overcome?

  17. Token says:

    This could be a lawyers picnic.

    Wait until consumers realise the “US style health system” they have been taught to fear can only operate the way it does using e-health flows of the type this project has laid out.

    How do you think US health funds know enough to block treatment?

  18. wal1957 says:

    Surely, you didn’t think that a liebor plan would actually work!

    Another bungled mess! Another failed liebor plan.
    How bloody inept does a gub’mint have to be before the rusted ons’ wake up?

  19. Robbo says:

    I received some stuff on this in the mail last week and after reading it I could not work out any advantage to me in signing up, but I could identify the dangers to my security and privacy by becoming part of what can only be described as a big brother scheme. Call me paranoid if you wish but experience has taught me that the less the government (any level of government) knows about me the better off I will be. The brochure for ehealth that I received ended up in the most appropriate place, the rubbish bin, and I would recommend everyone else treats it the same way.

  20. Blind freddy says:

    Judith
    As the great 20th century philosopher Oliver Hardy exclaimed
    “well thats another fine mess you got me into”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9KfLA8ldw8

  21. Token says:

    Examples include, patients can decide which doctors/health practiitioners can look at their data. Patients can decide what data goes into the file, i.e can choose to prevent doctors knowing they have a history of substance abuse, mental health or any condition or treatment they choose to have withheld. Patients can in theory go into a file and delete or alter entries by health practitioners.

    This keeps coming back as the deal breaker from so many professionals. Here’s an opinion I’ve seen on the project which is telling:

    It’s been fraught with problems all along, the main culprit being the lack of consultation with major stakeholders. Security around the PCEHR has been exposed as a significant issue – the system has been hacked once already and “episodes of care” randomly appeared against your name at the outset. Privacy has still not been dealt with satisfactorily, and I’m hearing that the latest incarnation sees DoHA holding a massive database of all PCEHR entries. Finally, the numbers quoted immediately throws your cynicism into high alert, as apparently the government exceeded their target of a ½million Aussies signing up for the PCEHR by July 1 2013 – again, in the words of a colleague, it looks like only 2.5% of the population so far is confused and disappointed, whilst the others don’t know what they are not missing!!

    It could have been easier – if a framework or standard was provided which allowed health entities to securely exchange information on a digital level, then the foundation stone would have been laid. After that, just leave it to these health entities as to how much and what information they wish to exchange digitally – you would soon see standards emerge as best practices evolved. And throwing in some cash to incentivise health entities to embrace digitisation wouldn’t have gone amiss – alas, it looks like at least $634m will be sunk along with the NEHTA shipwreck!

  22. Andrew says:

    Well it’s obvious – if there was a better broadband than the 100MB routinely available in every capital city (down your choice of Optus or Foxtel cables, in most streets) then more people might adopt e-health.

    Why don’t we try building a $94bn FTTH network and see if that improves performance? If not, then it was clearly just a bad idea and we can scrap it then.

  23. Justin says:

    Strange coincidence but I got a call today from someone claiming to help set up my e-health account.

  24. Jazza says:

    My late dear old Dad would have said “Cripes, not again?! Labor can’;t take a trick right now”
    Surely stuff-ups are their second “once in a lifetime” record?
    The first would HAVE to be the largest deficit left to the country as a Labor legacy!

  25. blogstrop says:

    Time to find a new GP, Judith. Mine has been doing this for about 12 months.

    Numbers, just because you have voices in your head doesn’t make you, in any tiny way, able to advise Judith on any subject whatsoever. Get some more therapy yourself.

  26. candy says:

    Might be a long time before security can be 100% guaranteed for such supremely sensitive information.

  27. perturbed says:

    The mere thought of a patient being able to alter their own record makes me want to hose this scheme down with 25MT nukes. They could put anything in, or take anything out, and then proceed to take their doctor to the cleaner’s on the basis of a bogus lawsuit. Fuck that shit up the arse with a burning aircraft carrier, shoved in sideways.

    I’ve seen the development process evolve from a professional viewpoint. It came up in the Howard era, IIRC, and seemed interesting then, but the failure of what on the surface is a good idea to evolve to a working platform thereafter made me deeply suspicious. The sooner it is dead and buried, the better. Scanners are very fast these days, and can transmit the necessary pages from a paper record lickety-split. The only thing I ever really found useful was the ability to log into the pathology results system and look up patients’ hospital discharge summaries – they were often a wealth of information when I had a sick patient in casualty who couldn’t talk to me all that well (or at all).

  28. laterite says:

    brc:

    We should change the constitution to prevent any government dept from starting any it project. If they can’t buy the system off the shelf, then they should be forced to change practice to match one that does come off the shelf.

    That is absolutely brilliant. The mistake we have been making is to fit the IT system to the organization, when we should be fitting the organization to the IT system. Organizations are constantly being re-structured anyway, so why not? Generic IT systems have a built in logic and efficiency to them that the organization would do well to emulate.

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