Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

HealthSMART shows the future of HealthBook

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-04-25

Hot on the heels of my dummy-spit about the 2020 proposal for HealthBook, I receive notice of a Victorian Auditor-General HealthSMART report, dummy-spitting about the competence of managers, especially shoddy business analysis, for the Victorian government project, which is already two years behind schedule.

The Executive Summary includes the following choice snippets – which I’d probably say applies to nearly all government IT programs, state or federal.

  • Lack of detailed business case has been a key planning flaw
  • Adequate funding of ICT infrastructure within health agencies is an ongoing challenge
  • DHS did not have a reliable basis for estimating ‘whole of life’ costs
  • Half the budget spent for a quarter of the planned installations
  • The ICT implementation most at risk is Clinical Systems
  • Our analysis also indicates that the program will not be finalised by its planned completion date of June 2009, although DHS has not yet advised the government of the need to revise the expected completion date.

That last bit is "management in denial", and of course, those (mis)managers and their megabucks-charging contractors and consultancies are bleating about the report being "unduly harsh".  Mind you, Treasury and Finance responded with "DTF notes this recommendation… DTF will liaise with DHS to assess the opportunities for future reviews of this program" and I’ve love to be a fly on the wall during the &quotliaison"!

Government auditor reports are always polite, if not too polite, with their phrasing.  The strength of the language inside this audit report indicates that things are rotten.

Has anybody got any reason why a federal initiative such as the HealthBook idea would be any better, without a complete turnaround in management culture?

  • Meanwhile, Queensland is (thankfully) chucking a wobbly at TrakHealth and is seeking almost $100 million in compensation (The Australian, 2008-04-22) for a failed e-health contract.
  • "Vic gov recordkeeping slammed by auditor" (2008-03-21) – and understanding of recordkeeping requirements is critical (absolutely necessary but not sufficient) to managing eHealth data

3 Responses to “HealthSMART shows the future of HealthBook”

  1. Anonymous said

    I think this depends on healthbook will be.

    Is it meant to be one records system to rule them all … and in the darkness bind them?

    Or is it meant to be a place where you can research info on what treatments work and what don’t, what’s appropriate for you and chat with people with similar ailments?

  2. Dave Bath said

    HealthBook is meant to allow sharing of clinical records rather than sharing stories.

    As for the ailments that really matter, the ones you live with for the rest of your life, there are many excellent sites run by and for particular conditions. I got a lot of help from the (hardcopy) library at the Epilepsy Foundation, as well as, which, btw has a space for sharing stories.

    For other conditions, is designed for sharing experiences. The site covers cancers, heart disease, mental health, neurological conditions, screening programmes, pregnancy, teenage health, chronic illnesses and many others. DIPEx was voted by the Times as one of the top 3 patient health sites (2006), was in the Guardian’s top 10 health websites (2004) and was singled out in a recent study (Times article March 2007) as a favourite, trusted site for patients.

  3. danny said

    “HealthConnect trials were proof of concept of an electronic Health Record System (HRS), now more usually referred to as a shared Electronic Health Record (SEHR), a repository for storing and sharing individual consumer electronic health records. At the end of 2004, Tasmania transitioned from trial status to become a lead State in the national implementation of HealthConnect. From 2005, the focus of implementation work in Tasmania, as in other parts of Australia, has been mainly focussed on interoperability between healthcare providers. This has meant:

    * supporting the means, the right infrastructure for point to point communication;
    * supporting specific messaging projects;
    * expansion, operation and support of e-Health core systems”

    It’s current, ongoing, is working with GP’s as a stakeholder, has an implementation plan to ’09.

    We wouldn’t have every tom dick and harriet eHealth glossy brochure wannabe working up their own version of an inter/national standard, would we?

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